Mental health assessment

Specialty of Psychology

What is a mental health assessment?

A mental health assessment or evaluation is a procedure in which a psychologist or psychiatrist gathers information about the patient via tests and interviews, in order to evaluate cognitive functioning and abilities in specific areas and to predict future behaviour.

What does it involve?

The psychological evaluation is carried out by means of interviews, psychometric tests, recordings and observations.

  • Interview and psychometric tests: information about different aspects of the patient’s life is gathered, and the patient’s attitude, how they talk and their tone of voice is analysed. 

One of two types of interview can be used:

  • Structured: a series of questions are given with a set of closed answers.
  • Unstructured: the patient is given a series of open questions that allow the person to speak more.
     
  • Recordings and observations: all the data obtained from the interview is recorded and analysed. 
     

Why is a mental health assessment done?

It is done to see if the patient has any underlying mental illness that might require treatment and to allow the patient to achieve a better understanding of themselves, promoting their decision-making in relation to their professional, family, social and love life. 

Preparation

It is recommended that you attend a session with the psychologist before the evaluation session itself, in order to talk about what's involved with the assessment.

What will I feel during the assessment?

Given that very personal subjects are addressed, you may experience negative emotions during the course of the psychological evaluation.

Significance of results

The results of the assessment determine whether the patient needs treatment for a specific mental disorder, and to determine which treatment is best suited to the individual.

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