Almost 1 in 5 adults in America are living with a mental illness. For many people, it can fly under the radar for years. But, taking care of your mental health is just as important as taking care of your physical health.
If you’re trying to figure out what mental health condition you might have, taking a mental health evaluation is a great way to do it. The thought of being evaluated can seem scary, but the process is really easy! We’ll walk you through everything you need to, and help reduce any anxiety related to the process.
The Goal of a Mental Health Evaluation
So, what is a mental health evaluation?
Mental health evaluations are done by a psychologist. The goal of a mental health evaluation is to determine if you have any mental health conditions that need to be addressed.
Here are some examples of conditions that can be diagnosed via a mental health evaluation (though there are more than this):
- Personality disorders
The evaluation can be used to determine how severe your symptoms are, causes, the impact it has on your life, and possible treatments.
At the end of the day, mental health evaluations are supposed to help you improve your life. It’s like getting an x-ray to determine if a bone is broken!
How a Mental Health Evaluation Works
Mental health evaluations are easy to do and can vary in length depending on what you’re looking to get out of this. It can be done virtually or in person based on your needs.
Before you begin, the mental health professional will determine if you are in any danger from suicide or violence. If they determine that you are a risk to yourself or others, they may evaluate you in a hospital setting.
Next, a mental health professional will have you sign consent forms. These forms allow them to have access to your medical history and any other information they might need. Depending on your age, you may also fill out consent forms that allow them to discuss treatment with family members.
Once the consent forms are good to go, you will fill out a questionnaire. This will be a combination of verbal and written questions. These questions can include symptoms, medical history, family histories, substance use, and psychiatric history.
After you answer all of these questions, the mental health professional may ask you to do other medical exams. Physical exams help rule out any physical illnesses or conditions that could be causing your mental health symptoms.
The Types of Mental Health Evaluations
There are four main types of mental health evaluations.
The goal of an Intellectual Functioning exam is to determine your cognitive abilities. This is also known as an IQ test.
Behavioral exams examine your emotions and behaviors. This is a broader test and is used to figure out what might be causing symptoms overall.
Clinical interviews are used by psychologists to figure out what mental illness(es) might be impacting your life. You can break these interviews into structural clinical interviews and diagnostic interviews. The goal is to determine what is impacting you and how to treat it.
Personality exams help figure out how genetic, social, and environmental situations in your life are impacting your mental health. Your treatment might vary depending on how the outside world or genetics affect you.
What You Can Do to Prepare
Mental health evaluations usually don’t require a lot of preparation on your part. The main thing you want to consider is why are you having this done? Keeping track of your thoughts, behaviors, symptoms, and impact on those symptoms can help explain what is going on and why you want to have this evaluation done.
You should also consider what your goals are. How can this evaluation help you improve your daily life? Being clear with a mental health professional about what you want to happen because you did this exam will help them know what you’re looking for.
Keep in mind you also don’t have to go through this exam alone. You can bring a trusted family or friend with you.
What Happens Next?
After you finish your mental health evaluation, the mental health professional you’re working with will put your results together. They will walk you through the results carefully and clearly, answering any questions you might have along the way.
Now that you have your results, the mental health professional will help you build a treatment plan based on their recommendations. For many people, this will include therapy, medication, or a combination of both.
Some results will require a more in-depth treatment plan. Substance use disorders, for example, will need treatment for that substance. Treatment for substance use can impact treatment for other mental health conditions that are diagnosed as well.
You might not agree with the results of your exam, or you just want to get a second opinion to make sure you’re doing the right things moving forward. There is no problem with going to another clinic or doctor and getting the assessment done again.
Remember, the goal of this exam is to help you. Getting multiple opinions is a valid way to figure out what to do next.
Put Your Mental Health First Today
Now you understand everything involved with mental health evaluations and the important role they play in helping you take care of yourself.
If you’re ready to book a mental health exam or you want to speak out to a mental health professional, contact The Center for Health and Wellbeing. We are an office of skilled medical professionals that bridge the gap between traditional medical procedures and alternative therapies. We want to help you live a happier, healthier, better life today.
Book an appointment with us today to get started!