A mental health assessment is where a professional, like a psychologist, doctor, or psychiatrist, checks your body to ascertain whether you have a mental health problem and offer the appropriate treatment.
Everyone faces tough times, but in some situations, too much anxiousness, depression, antisocial behavior, and having trouble thinking may be signs of a more serious problem. These symptoms start to control your life or that of your loved one; then it’s time to do something. Besides, research suggests that early diagnosis and treatment will prevent the situation from worsening and help you recover faster.
The first step is seeking a mental health assessment. The assessment includes tests, verbal questions, and at times some questionnaires.
What to Expect
1. A Physical Examination
At times, symptoms of physical illness may be similar to those of mental sickness. Therefore, by taking a physical exam, the doctor will find out a neurological problem or thyroid disorder. Explain your past mental and physical health conditions to your doctor and any prescription, supplement, or over-the-counter drugs you are using.
2. Lab Tests
Your doctor may draw your blood, urine, and scan your brain. Also, based on your condition, he may conduct other tests. During the lab test, your psychiatrist will ask whether you are using alcohol and other drugs.
3. Mental Health History
These will be mostly questions on the total time you have been having the symptoms, family history of mental health, and whether you have had a mental treatment before.
4. Personal History
The doctor may also ask about your personal history and lifestyle; this includes your marital status, occupation, whether you’ve ever worked in the military, and your childhood life. Also, the doctor could ask about the significant traumas and stress you have experienced in your life.
5. Mental Evaluation
These will be mostly questions touching on your feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. The psychiatrist may ask you to tell more about your symptoms and how they affect your daily life. Your doctor will also monitor your behavior, appearance, and ask if you have ever tried any solution to your issues.
6. Cognitive Evaluation
During the assessment, your doctor will gauge your mental ability to think and reason well. This is done through simple tasks such as recognizing common objects and shapes, remembering shortlists, and solving simple math problems.
When a Child Needs an Assessment
Like adults, children can also get mental health assessments in the hospital. But for children, the screening measures will be different as most of them cannot explain their symptoms or mind effectively. The doctor usually relies on the parents, teachers, or caregivers for more information on the child. Your pediatrician could handle this case, or refer it to a child mental health professional.
Are You Concerned about your Kid?
If you are concerned that your family member or friend might be showing signs of mental disorders, then don’t hesitate to discuss their mental health. Show them you care and offer to connect them to a psychiatrist.
And though you might not be able to force your loved one to undergo a psychiatric test, you can raise your concerns with a mental health professional.
However, they won’t give any feedback. If your loved one agrees to undertake the mental assessment, then the physician may share their mental health information If they will allow that.