A mental health assessment
gives your doctor an overall picture of how well you feel emotionally and how
well you are able to think, reason, and remember (cognitive functioning). Your
doctor will ask you questions and examine you. You might answer some of the
doctor's questions in writing. Your doctor will pay attention to how you look
and your mood, behavior, thinking, reasoning, memory, and ability to express
yourself. Your doctor will also ask questions about how you get along with
other people, including your family and friends. Sometimes the assessment
includes lab tests, such as blood or urine tests.
When Debra Yergen switched jobs, she got the cold shoulder from people she considered close friends.
Yergen had spent three years working at a community hospital in Washington state, but when she started her new position as director of communications for a regional medical center that competed with the hospital, her old work buddies disappeared -- presumably because she left for the competition.
"At first, I thought my friends were just busy," Yergen, now 40, says. "But when the holidays rolled...
the mental health of a person who has been hospitalized or arrested
for a crime, such as drunken driving or physical abuse.
How To Prepare
If you are having a mental health
assessment because you have specific symptoms, you may be asked to keep a diary
or journal for a few days before your appointment. For some assessments, you may be asked to bring a family member or friend
with you, someone who can describe your symptoms from their view.
If your child is being
checked for behavior problems, you may be asked to keep a diary or journal of
how he or she acts for a couple of days. Your child's teacher may need to
answer questions about how your child acts at school.