Mental Health Assessment
A mental health assessment provides your doctor or treatment professional with a clear picture of your emotional status and how clearly you are able to think and respond. The assessment is often the starting point for various behavioral services and the point in which the treatment professional will determine what types of treatment protocol are required to get you feeling better emotionally and physically.
Various questions are asked to determine how you feel, how you think about different things, how you reason with your feelings and with others and what you can remember. This is a method of assessing your cognitive functioning, your mood, your ability to express your feelings and your overall demeanor. During the questioning, the doctor will ask you questions and perform an examination taking notes as he goes. It’s important that you be open and honest during a mental health assessment to ensure that you receive proper treatment and care.
Why is a Mental Health Assessment Performed?
There are a number of reasons for a doctor or treatment professional to perform a mental health assessment. Some of the most common reasons for a mental health assessment include:
- determining the presence of mental illness such as anxiety or depression
- determining whether there are mental illness related problems or health problems or both
- evaluating the individual for the potential need for mental health treatment
- evaluating for learning disabilities or behavioral disorders
- assessing the mental health of an individual who has been charged with a crime
Preparation for Mental Health Assessment
There really isn’t much that you need to do in preparation for a mental health assessment unless you have difficulty remembering your symptoms or other important facts. If you are the type who has been having symptoms for quite some time it could be beneficial to you to write down the symptoms that you are experiencing before your assessment, this can prevent you from forgetting or missing any symptoms as your talking with the treatment professional.
If you take any prescription or non-prescription medications or use drugs, it’s important to talk with the healthcare provider about these medications or substances. Write down the exact names of any medications that you are taking as well as the amounts that you take and the frequency. These will be important notes to bring with you.
If the mental health assessment is going to be performed on a child, you should be ready to discuss behavioral problems or patters that you have noticed. If a teacher has requested the assessment or another outsider has requested the mental health assessment, you may want notes or reasons from this individual as well. Any pertinent data that you can bring with you to the mental health assessment could help the provider to make a determination on a proper protocol for treatment.
Be prepared to spend about an hour or two with a psychiatrist, psychologist or other treatment professional during the mental health assessment. The entire assessment, which focuses on both physical and emotional well-being will take about two hours to complete.