Mental Health Assessment

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A mental health assessment can basically be defined as an assessment of your current mental health by a qualified professional or professionals. This can take place informally, for example at your doctor’s surgery during a routine appointment where symptoms of mental health problems are present. Or a mental health assessment can take place more formally in emergency situations under the Mental Health Act.

Mental Health Assessment by a doctor

If you have symptoms of a mental health problem then the first step for most people is likely to be a visit to their doctor. Your doctor will be able to prescribe medication to help alleviate the symptoms and if necessary refer you to other professionals for further assessment. However, for many people, a visit to a doctor may be the only mental health treatment required.

Mental Health Assessment by a Psychiatrist

If your doctor feels it necessary and your symptoms are severe, you may be referred to a psychiatrist for a mental health assessment. A psychiatrist will be able to perform a number of tests, diagnose a mental health problem, prescribe drugs and formulate a treatment plan for your case. The psychiatrist will usually work closely with your doctor and other professionals in the community mental health team.

Emergency Mental Health Assessment

Sometimes an emergency mental health assessment is required if an individual is thought to be in danger of harming themselves or someone else.

If this is the case then an assessment under the Mental Health Act 1983 might take place and if it is thought necessary, the individual can be admitted to a psychiatric hospital without their consent.

During the mental health assessment the following points will be taken into consideration:

  • Whether you are aggressive or a risk to yourself or to other people and if you have a history of violence and whether or not you are likely to try and abscond
  • How you appear, for example, if you are quiet and withdrawn or alert and co-operative, or whether you are distressed or anxious
  • What has happened prior to the assessment to trigger off the latest events?
  • What support is available at home?
  • Whether any psychosis or paranoia is present or if the individual is responding inappropriately?
  • Are you a suicide risk?

Once everything has been taken into consideration an assessment will be made as to whether you are a low risk or a high risk case and a decision about your treatment taken accordingly.

There are a number of legal procedures that must be followed when sectioning someone under the mental health act. For example, one person cannot decide on their own that an individual should be detained; there will normally be two doctors present (one of which is usually your own doctor) as well as an approved social worker.

It is important to note that an enforced stay in hospital is not a decision that will be taken lightly and is normally used as a last resort and will only be required to stay in hospital for as long as is necessary for your treatment.

Learn how I beat Depression


  1. adz standen
    Posted January 27, 2010 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    i found the information on ur website very useful. im studying mental health at university and find that if i look in the right polaces i can find the information that i need for my studys.. This website gave me information about the assesment stage ov a patient! needing 2 doctors to detain a patient and a approved social worker, (1 of the 2 doctors has to be your own) which i was un aware of. thanks for posting this information.

  2. sharon
    Posted January 20, 2012 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    I have had depression for 7 years now on and off, last year i got what i thought was help from the Dr and mental health teams and other people, I have deppression apparently, on and off in between i am rather low have strange thoughts and do not leave the house or have any social contact what so ever – if i have more probs or feel no one is listerning to me i with draw and have a complete shut down. Apparantly there is nothing wrong with me, i suffer from deppression and need an anger managment course (to which i can not attend as i do not leave the house) and the only anger i feel is when i am not listerend too. I have had malice thoughts come in to my head and some times fight with my self in side my head (saying what are you doing) stop it – then some one or something gets hurt as a result. I am struggerling to get a diagnosis and feel like no one believes me. I do not know what to do any more and feel really low and wish every one would leave me alone. How can i get the right help? Whats wrong with me? what will happen now? I feel abandond and rejected.

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