A mental health assessment is an overall picture of how well you feel emotionally and how well you are able to think, reason, and remember (cognitive functioning).
A mental health assessment may be done by primary care doctor or by a psychiatrist, psychologist, or social worker.
A mental health assessment for a child is geared to the child’s age and stage of development.
The mental status examination or mental state examination, abbreviated MSE, is an important part of the clinical assessment process in psychiatric practice. It is a structured way of observing and describing a patient’s current state of mind, under the domains of appearance, attitude, behavior, mood and affect, speech, thought process, thought content, perception, cognition, insight and judgment.
Why It Is Done
A mental health assessment is done to:
1. Find out about and check on mental health problems, such as anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease, and anorexia nervosa.
2. Help tell the difference between mental and physical health problems.
3. Evaluate a person who has been referred for mental health treatment because of problems at school, work, or home.
For example, a mental health assessment may be used to find out if a child has learning disabilities or behavior disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), conduct disorder (CD), or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
4. Check the mental health of a person who has been hospitalized or arrested for a crime, such as drunken driving or physical abuse.
Components of the Mental Status Exam
• Thought process
• Thought content