Mental Health Assessment
How It Feels
A mental health assessment is used to
find out how you think and feel.
- If you are being checked for a problem, such as
alcohol dependence, you may feel resentment, anger, or
hostility and may not want to have the assessment.
- If you are being
evaluated for a health condition, such as Alzheimer's disease, you may be
- Because some mental health problems are hard to diagnose,
you may worry or become upset if your condition is not quickly or easily
Lab tests do not usually cause much discomfort. A blood
sample will be taken from a vein in your arm. An elastic band is wrapped around
your upper arm and may feel tight. You may feel nothing at all from the needle,
or you may feel a quick sting or pinch. Collecting a urine sample does not
Your doctor may not be able to find the cause of
your symptoms, because some mental health problems are hard to diagnose. Also,
more than one mental health assessment or other tests may be needed to
accurately diagnose your problem.
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 may
discuss some results of the mental health assessment with you right after the
assessment. Complete results may not be available for several days.
Many conditions can change the results of a mental health assessment.
Your doctor will talk with you about how your results relate to your symptoms
and past health.
A mental health assessment can help diagnose:
- Mental health problems, such as
attention deficit hyperactivity disorder,
bipolar disorders, and
- Developmental problems,
intellectual disability, and
- Substance abuse, including
alcohol and drug abuse and dependence.
- Diseases of the nervous system, such as
Parkinson's disease, and
- Other problems, such as
thyroid disease and brain tumors.
What Affects the Test
You may not be able to have the
test or the results may not be helpful if you:
- Are not able to cooperate with and trust your
- Are not willing to have a mental health assessment.
- Have physical or emotional problems that interfere with your
ability to complete a written test. In most cases, other testing instruments
and tools are used if this is a problem for you.
- Use some
medicines, alcohol, or illegal drugs.
- Have trouble reading, writing, or understanding the English language.
What To Think About
- Some mental health problems can be hard to
diagnose. You may need more than one mental health assessment and other tests
to accurately diagnose your problem.
- What your family and friends
see or think about your symptoms can sometimes help your doctor diagnose a
mental health problem. Consider having a family member or friend come with you
to your appointment.
- Contact your human resources
department or local health department to find out what support services are
available in your area.