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    Mental Health Assessment

    How To Prepare continued...

    Many medicines can cause changes in your ability to think, reason, and remember. Be sure to tell your doctor about all the nonprescription and prescription medicines you take.

    Talk with your doctor about any concerns you have regarding the need for the test, its risks, how it will be done, or what the results will mean. To help you understand the importance of this test, fill out the medical test information form(What is a PDF document?).

    How It Is Done

    Health professionals often do a brief mental health assessment during regular checkups. If you are having symptoms of a mental health problem, your doctor may do a more complete assessment or refer you to another doctor, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist.

    A mental health assessment includes an interview with a doctor and may also involve a physical exam and written or verbal tests.


    During the interview, your doctor pays attention to how you look, how you move, what type of mood you seem to be in, and how you behave. You will be asked to talk about your symptoms and complaints. Be as detailed as possible. If you have kept a diary or journal of your symptoms, share this with your doctor.

    Your doctor may ask you questions to check how well you think, reason, and remember (your cognitive functioning). He or she may ask you questions to find out how you think, how you feel about life, and whether you are likely to commit suicide.

    Physical exam

    A mental health assessment may include a physical exam. Your doctor will review your past medical history, as well as that of your family members, and the medicines you currently take.

    Your doctor may test your reflexes, balance, and senses, such as hearing, taste, sight, smell, and touch.

    Lab tests

    The mental health assessment sometimes includes lab tests on a blood or urine sample. If a nervous system problem is suspected, tests such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), electroencephalogram (EEG), or computed tomography (CT) may be done. Lab tests to detect other problems may include thyroid function tests, electrolyte levels, or toxicology screening (to look for drug or alcohol problems).

    Written or verbal tests

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: November 14, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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