Evaluations & Clinical Measures
An essential component of a mental health assessment is to carry out a detailed exploration of the presenting problem, why you are seeking help, history of the problem and a mental health history. Your clinician will ask questions about how long you’ve had your symptoms, your personal and family history of mental health issues, and any psychiatric treatment you’ve had.
It is important to consider how the symptoms affect your day-to-day life, what makes them better or worse, and whether and how you’ve tried to manage them on your own. You may be asked questions about your ability to do daily responsibilities, like caring for yourself, going to work or education and your social network including family and friends.
It can also be useful to reflect on your own understanding of the problem and what explanations you have already considered. Existing attribution systems can have a significant impact on treatment and recovery outcomes.
You will be asked questions about your lifestyle and personal history including relationship status and previous relationships, work, occupational and other interests. What was your upbringing like and generally looking at earlier experiences, especially childhood and adolescence as many mental health problems will have predisposing developmental factors. In particular the assessment will enquire about the sources of stress in your life and any significant, trauma, loss and adverse events you’ve experienced. This is not always an easy conversation to have. Our practitioners are sensitive to this pacing and managing the conversation in a semi-structed way, perhaps not going into too much detail which could be distressing and unhelpful at this early stage.
You will be asked questions about your attitudes, values, beliefs, thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. Your clinician will observe and appraise your perceptions, appearance, communication and behaviour: for example are you cooperative, appeasing, irritable, shy, or hostile? Do you make eye contact? Are you talkative, open or cagey? How do you appear, compared with others your age, similar problems, circumstances etc.?
You may be asked to complete some clinical forms either before, during or after the consultation as part of the assessment process. There are a range of clinical measures that can be used as a tool to guide the clinician in understanding the nature and severity of your difficulties. Clinical measures are tools only and need to be used within the context of a face to face meeting with a qualified professional. There are screening measures for various conditions available online. These should be used with caution as they can only provide preliminary evidence of a potential problem which needs to be further evaluated by a qualified clinician.
Depending on the presenting problem and problem history during the assessment your clinician may want to formally gauge your ability to think clearly, recall information (memory), and use mental reasoning. Formal cognitive assessments using a standardised battery of tests are not routine, but are generally used where the clinician feels that mental health is not the full explanation for the presenting problem and there may be some underlying neurodevelopmental (ASD, ADHD) or neurological condition (dementia, brain injury, other medical conditions) contributing to current difficulties.
A cognitive evaluation needs to be carried out by a trained, qualified and specialist clinician. There is usually a formal and more lengthy assessment process that may take more than one consultation and may involve meeting more than on specialist. In addition information may be collected from others who know you well in different daily contexts. For example with children and adolescents this could mean school, your GP and parents. You will be informed about additional costs of an extensive in-depth assessment in advance of undertaking the formal assessment process.
You may take tests of basic cognitive tasks, like focusing your attention, remembering short lists, recognising common shapes or objects, or solving simple problems.
Find Your Practitioner
Where We Are
54 Quarry Street
Phone/EmailPlease get in touch with clinician directly to book your appointment.
Castle Car Park/Tunsgate
Millbrook Car Park, A281, GU1 3UF
Images Courtesy of Brighter Spaces