A Complete Guide To Mental Health
Assessment And Evaluation

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A mental health assessment and evaluation is a procedure where an expert such as a psychiatrist has a one-on-one conversation with an individual to confirm whether they have a mental health issue. The evaluation may involve a questionnaire, an interview, a physical examination, lab tests, reviewing the results, giving a proper diagnosis, and a treatment plan. It may also cover the type of support and treatment needed.

Everyone goes through ups and downs. However, if you constantly feel anxious or depressed, struggle to think, and desire to avoid people, then it's high time to seek professional guidance. A mental health professional can confirm if you have any mental health issues by assessing how you feel, think, reason, and recall events.

The earlier you get diagnosed by professionals like those from Insight Northwest Counseling, the better. These experts will incorporate strategies to help restore your mental health, thus reducing the chances of these symptoms worsening. Moreover, they'll give you treatment that will help reduce the likelihood of hurting yourself and others.

If you're not sure of what to do and expect in your mental health evaluation and assessment journey, here's a complete guide to help you:

1. Prepare Yourself Adequately

Before your first visit to your psychiatrist, it's essential that you adequately prepare yourself so that you don't miss anything critical. Therefore, the first important step you'd want to take is to think about why you want professional help. Thus, you can examine yourself and determine the following:

  • Some mental health symptoms that you exhibit
  • The feelings, behaviors, and thoughts that have been troubling you
  • The period that you've been experiencing the symptoms
  • Events that may cause the symptoms to escalate.

If you're taking someone else for the assessment, jot down the abnormal behaviors and symptoms they've been exhibiting. You can even ask people that person interacts with if they've noticed anything out of the ordinary.

Once you've analyzed yourself, here are some things that you can do before the assessment and evaluation:

  • Find someone who can take you to the psychiatrist and offer support; you don't have to go alone.
  • Jot down some notes on what you'd want to discuss with your doctor or psychiatrist before the visit.
  • Ensure you carry a pen to check the points once you've discussed them with the expert.
  • Write down questions that you can ask your psychiatrist.
  • List some expectations and goals you'd like to achieve by the end of the mental health assessment and evaluation session.
  • Jot down some of the illicit or prescription drugs you may be taking, because some may adversely affect your mental well-being.

2. Go For The Mental Health And Evaluation Session

After preparing for the mental health assessment and evaluation, the next step is visiting the professional. Some of the things the professional may do to ascertain your mental health condition include:

  • Asking Verbal Questions: The mental health expert may interview you and ask questions about your mental health. While asking these queries, they'll be paying attention to your behavior. That'll help them know what your issue may be and determine the best diagnosis. Other questions to expect from your psychiatrist include the following:

  • Your Mental Health History: The professional may want to know whether your family has had any cases of mental health issues in the past and if those family members have undergone psychiatric treatment.

  • Personal History: The expert may ask about your childhood history, where you were born and raised, if you've gone through any traumatic experiences while growing up, if you had a happy home or not and your reason for saying so, the number of siblings you have, your relationship with your parents, your lifestyle, if you're married, where you're working, if you have kids, and the thing that stresses you out the most in life. Moreover, they may want to know if you've ever indulged in drug and substance abuse, your religious beliefs, your social life, hobbies, and your goals and aspirations in life.

  • Current Behavior Or Issues: The psychiatrist may inquire about how you're feeling and what has been going through your mind lately. They may also inquire about your symptoms and how you've been trying to manage them alone. Moreover, they may ask behavior questions, like if you've experienced any panic attacks, whether there's a change in your routine, if you still hang out with your friends, how you feel amidst other people, and if there are any changes in your diet.

It's essential to answer all the questions accurately if you want help.

  • Cognitive Gauging: This ideally involves the professional assessing your ability to reason and think clearly. They may give you a test like a simple mathematical problem and assess how you solve it.

  • Lab Tests: The expert may ask you for a brain scan, urine test, or any other relevant test if they suspect you have a medical condition like anemia. If they feel that you have a problem in your nervous system, they may send you for a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or a computer tomography (CT) scan. This will help them make a better and more informed decision when diagnosing your mental health issue.

  • Physical Examination: It's possible to have a physical condition with symptoms that almost look like those of a mental illness. Thus, it's essential that you go through a physical exam to confirm if you're suffering from another condition like a thyroid disorder. To ease your psychiatrist's work, you can tell them about the health issues (both physical and mental) that you know you have. Moreover, you can tell them if you're under any prescription so that they can strategize on how to help you.

All the above strategies are essential in helping your psychiatrist know the mental health condition that you’re suffering from and make an accurate diagnosis.

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3. Wait For A Diagnosis From The Professional And Ask Questions

After you've given the professional all the information they've asked for, plus the tests that you've gone through, they'll make the diagnosis and explain to you what they think the problem is. Some mental issues that the professional may diagnose include:

  • Anxiety disorder
  • Mood and depression disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Psychotic and schizophrenia disorder
  • Attention deficit disorder.

At this juncture, you can also ask the experts some of the questions that you have if you want to get a better understanding of the following:

  • The condition
  • Possible causes
  • If other people have overcome the mental health problem
  • How the issue might affect your life
  • If there's anything about your lifestyle that you need to change.

It's crucial to know that your voice matters; thus, you shouldn't hesitate to ask questions or air any concerns.

4. Listen Attentively When You're Being Given The Treatment Plan

After the professional has asked questions, performed the necessary tests, and given you a proper diagnosis, the next step is to provide you with an appropriate treatment plan. They may suggest that you undergo psychotherapy or take medications. Depending on your situation, you may have to do both.

If you have recurring psychological disorders, your treatment may become complicated. Also, if the reason for your mental instability is drug and substance abuse, the professional can suggest that you go for rehabilitation to help maintain your sobriety and reduce the likelihood of relapsing. Another way the mental health expert can help you is to advise you on how to take care of your mental well-being, which includes:

  • Focusing on the positive things in life
  • Ensuring that you're physically active
  • Giving to others
  • Learning new skills
  • Surrounding yourself with people that bring out the best in you
  • Doing what you love
  • Talking to someone if you have issues
  • Ensuring that you have healthy sleeping patterns
  • Trying meditation and quieting your mind.

5. Go For Reviews After Treatment

It will help if you visit your psychiatrist regularly for them to review your progress because your needs can change over time. Also, you may experience complications while undergoing treatment; thus, you need to ask for professional advice.

Moreover, you may want to revise your objectives of the mental health assessment and evaluation and confirm whether you're close to achieving the goals. Hence, it's crucial to have a one-on-one meeting with the mental health expert.

If you figure out that you're not close to attaining your goals, you can discuss better strategies to help you achieve the objectives. Also, you can tell the professional what you'll like them to change as you undergo the mental health assessment and evaluation process to check whether it'll help improve your mental well-being.


Mental health assessment and evaluation is essential in helping you ascertain whether you have a mental health issue. The psychiatrist can use strategies like interviews, physical tests, and cognitive assessments to help find out your problem. After the professional has made a diagnosis, they'll give you an effective treatment plan to help you improve.

Ideally, you need to prepare yourself adequately before going for the assessment. Answer questions properly, and ensure that you listen to everything that the mental health expert has to say.

Once you've completed the whole process, it would be wise to have sessions with your psychiatrist once in a while to keep track of the progress and develop better ways to achieve your goals of attaining mental well-being. Always ask questions and voice your concerns during the evaluation if you feel something is amiss. Remember, your goal is to get better!

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