WHAT IS A MENTAL HEALTH EVALUATION?
A mental health evaluation gives a doctor, counselor, psychologist or other licensed professional a picture of the way a person feels, reasons, thinks and remembers. Through a series of questions and physical tests, a professional can diagnose a number of mental disorders.
Some mental disorders an evaluation may help diagnose include:
- Depression and mood disorders
- Anxiety disorders
- Eating disorders
- Attention Deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Substance abuse and addictive disorders
- Bipolar disorder
- Schizophrenia and psychotic disorders
In addition to determining if a person suffers from a mental condition, the evaluation can help determine whether a person has co-occurring substance use disorder.
People shouldn’t be nervous about a mental health evaluation. Evaluations can help professionals understand an individual’s mental health needs and determine a treatment plan.
HOW TO PREPARE AND WHAT TO EXPECT
Nothing special is required to prepare for an evaluation. However, it is a good idea to think about the reasons for the assessment. Writing in a journal about thoughts and feelings in the days and weeks before the evaluation appointment may also help.
Some things to think about include:
- Mental health symptoms
- Troubling thoughts and behaviors
- Events that may make the symptoms worse
- How long the symptoms last
- How often the symptoms occur
It is also important to think about what the goals and expectations of therapy are. If there are substance abuse issues, make a list of all prescription or street drugs and substances. You don’t have to attend an evaluation alone. Take a friend or family member for company and support if necessary.