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What happens during a mental health assessment?

Educational Resources

How well you do you think, reason and remember? A mental health assessment evaluates these cognitive abilities to provide your doctor with a complete picture of your emotional state. This exam may be conducted by your primary care doctor, a psychiatrist, psychologist or social worker.

What happens during a mental health assessment?

You may have had brief mental health checks during regular visits to your doctor. But if you’re having symptoms of a mental health problem, he or she may do a more involved exam, or refer you to a psychologist or psychiatrist. A mental health assessment typically includes:

  • Personal interview

During this time, you’ll be asked to detail any symptoms and concerns. If you’ve kept a diary or journal of your symptoms, share it during your interview. You may be asked questions about how you feel about life, or if you’ve contemplated hurting yourself or others.

  • Physical exam and lab tests

To assess your health history and that of your family, your doctor will ask what medicines you take and may perform a general physical exam to check your reflexes, balance and senses. He or she may order lab tests to uncover problems with thyroid function, electrolyte levels or drugs or alcohol. If your doctor suspects a nervous system problem, you may receive an MRI, EEG or a CT scan.

How a mental health assessment may make you feel

As you answer the questions during the assessment, you may notice a range of emotions being brought to the surface. For example, you may experience anger or hostility while being evaluated for alcohol or drug dependence. You may be fearful of being checked for a health condition such as Alzheimer’s disease. And you may be concerned or upset if the source of your issue is not quickly or easily found. The fact is, some mental health problems are difficult to diagnose. And sometimes, your doctor can talk about a portion of the results with you right away, while complete test results may not be available for several days. But no matter when you get them, your test results are confidential.

Comprehensive, caring mental health and addiction resources are within reach

At more than 40 locations across Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa, Rosecrance provides expert addiction counseling and mental healthcare, including complete mental health assessment services. Our teams of certified and licensed professionals provide medical, psychiatric, nutritional, physical fitness and spiritual guidance to surround you with constant support.

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