What to Expect During a Mental Health Assessment

Mental illness is a common health issue, with one in five adults dealing with a mental illness. Coping with a mental health issue can be all-consuming and prevent people from living their lives. The problem isn’t just a difficulty in living their daily life. Mental health illnesses can prevent people from seeking professional care, too. The stigma surrounding mental health treatment means many are scared to get help. That fear can get in the way of treatment and negatively impact a person’s quality of life. Knowing what to expect can make a difference. Learn what a mental health evaluation involves, so you’ll be prepared to visit a nearby mental health treatment center

When Should You Visit a Mental Health Treatment Center?

The first hurdle to receiving treatment is understanding the need for help. Everyone has bad days, weeks, or even months, but understanding the difference between a hard time and a severe issue is essential. Once you know the symptoms of mental illness and identify them in your life, you can take the first step to get better. It never hurts to go in for a mental health evaluation. Even if we feel like our problems seem mild, there’s no shame in getting help. The stigma surrounding mental health can make people feel uncomfortable admitting that there may be a problem. Whether you struggle with PTSD or social anxiety, support is available.

Common Types of Mental Illness

Mental health issues come in many forms, and the symptoms vary. A mental health evaluation can help identify a proper diagnosis. Common types of mental illness include:

  • Mood disorders, such as depression
  • Anxiety and related disorders
  • ADHD, difficulty focusing, frequent boredom
  • PTSD, or any form of trauma
  • Addiction and substance abuse
  • Personality disorders such as schizophrenia
  • Eating disorders

You may experience some of these symptoms, and that can be normal. You need help when symptoms get in the way of happiness, productivity, and everyday activities. Some people are high-functioning and learn how to manage, but they may not enjoy a good quality of life. In other cases, people may struggle to fulfill essential functions and have to sit out important activities or work obligations. People suffering from undiagnosed mental health illnesses may be distant from family and friends.

Whether someone is high functioning or eking to get by, they would benefit from a mental health evaluation. Remember, there’s nothing wrong with seeking help. It’s better to be safe than sorry when dealing with health concerns.

What Is a Mental Health Assessment?

Each review is tailored to fit the individual, and no two mental health assessments are the same. A qualified professional will determine the tests and follow-ups. Mental health assessments range from physical tests to psychiatric evaluations, depending on what is appropriate.

Personal History

Personal history is crucial to understanding mental health issues. Recent changes and symptoms might indicate the source of a problem. We may not recognize that work or personal changes are causing or triggering our struggles.

Trauma is widespread, and many people repress or ignore trauma that happened years ago. Identifying this trauma and seeing how it affects our lives is essential. We need to be prepared to answer some uncomfortable questions. Mental health professionals operate under a strict code of ethics, so anything we say will remain confidential. However, we are not obliged to share anything if we feel uncomfortable doing so.

Mental Health History

Previous diagnoses of mental health issues or visits with medical professionals are also relevant. Many health problems are reoccurring. For instance, people who previously dealt with depression are more likely to suffer from this ailment again. A triggering event may cause unresolved issues to surface. Understanding mental health history is just as crucial as understanding personal history. If a treatment didn’t work the first time, it might be time to try something new.

Mental and Cognitive Evaluation

A mental and cognitive evaluation is perhaps the most critical part of a mental health assessment. A therapist will ask mental health questions ranging from how you cope in stressful situations to how you process emotions. It’s here that a therapist will identify the key issues.

Often, we need to recognize toxic thinking patterns or poor coping strategies. We tend not to be conscious of when we have become emotionally irrational and tend not to regulate our emotional affect. Learning how to deal with different situations is the key to resolving these issues.

Physical Tests

Sometimes, a mental health issue arises from a physical problem. For example, the thyroid gland may require medication. After taking the right pills, a person may no longer suffer symptoms. Further, chemical imbalances cause many types of depression and ADHD and require prescription medications. After taking medication for a few months, a patient may no longer experience the same problems. Physical tests, including lab work or brain scans, may provide invaluable insight into a condition. 

Seeking Mental Health Assessment Help

Mental health issues are widespread, and treatment is available. Unfortunately, the stigma surrounding mental health prevents treatment for many. A mental health assessment will allow medical professionals to determine what help we need. Don’t delay in getting help. Find a mental health treatment center in South Florida today.

Medically Reviewed: July 26, 2022

Dr Ashley

Medical Reviewer | CWC Recovery Staff

Clinical Team

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All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Content on this page has been reviewed by CWC Medical Staff for accuracy.


All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

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