Having a mental health assessment gives your psychologist a picture of the way you think, feel, reason and remember. The mental health test assesses your emotional wellbeing via a series of questions and also includes a physical examination.
As a priority your psychologist will determine if you are at risk of hurting yourself or others. For children, the mental health assessment will be tailored to the child’s age and stage of development.
A mental health assessment is designed to:
- diagnose mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, postnatal depression, eating disorders and psychotic illnesses
- differentiate between mental and physical health problems
- assess a person referred because of problems at school, work or home.
Preparing for a mental health assessment
Before your appointment, think about the reasons for the assessment:
- What are your mental illness symptoms?
- What are the thoughts, feelings or behaviours that have been troubling you?
- Has a particular event, such as the death of a loved one, brought on these symptoms?
- How often do you have the symptoms and what are you doing when you have them?
- How long do the symptoms last?
Keeping a diary in the days or week leading up to your mental health assessment may be helpful. It may also help to bring a friend or family member who can describe your mental illness symptoms from their perspective. If the assessment is for a child, make some notes about their behaviour. It might help to ask their teachers about any observations they have made.
Prepare a list of any prescription or illicit drugs you are taking – some drugs can affect the way you think or reason, so this could explain some of your symptoms.