Mental health screening is an exam of your emotional health to determine the presence of symptoms of any mental health disorder. The test results are used to diagnose the type of mental health disorder and the proper course of treatment.

Here are the most common disorders diagnosed during a mental health screening are:

Depression: Depression is a type of mood disorder that causes a continuous feeling of sadness, unhappiness, or change of behaviors that differ from different normal sadness or grief. This is also known as clinical depression or major depressive disorder. Depression affects the way you think, behave, and feel. 

Anxiety Disorder: Anxiety disorder is one of the mental health conditions involving intense feelings of fear, anxiety, nervousness, dread, and worry. Anxiety can cause excessive worry or fear in real or imagined situations. Anxiety and depression usually go hand-in-hand but can exist alone.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): PTSD is a psychiatric disorder that happens to individuals who witnessed or experienced a traumatic life event such as an accident, war, sexual violence, or severe injury. People with PTSD feel stressed and afraid, even long after the danger is over.

Eating Disorders: These are mental health conditions that lead to obsessive behaviors and thoughts about food, eating habits, changes in personality, and body image. For example, a person with an eating disorder may excessively eat, severely limit their food intake, and like or admire unrealistic body goals.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): ADHD is one of the most common mental disorders in children. It can also continue into adulthood. People with ADHD have trouble paying attention and controlling impulsive behavior.

Bipolar Disorder: This is a mental health condition involving unusual mood swings, inability to concentrate, unstable social activities, and erratic energy. This causes the person with bipolar disorder the inability to perform tasks of daily living effectively.

What Happens During a Mental Health Screening?

A mental health screening involves tests that usually include: physical exams, lab tests, and discussions about your feelings, mood, behavior patterns, and other symptoms. 

Mental Evaluation: You can expect your mental health care provider to ask questions about your behavior patterns, thoughts, feelings, moods, and other symptoms they need to explore. A mental health screening test is expected to cover more detailed questions to dissect your behavior and what you feel. 

Personal and Family History: You will be asked how long the symptoms were present, any family history, and treatments you had. You will be asked questions about your lifestyle, occupation, family life, childhood, and traumatic experiences, to determine any root cause of mental health illness such as post-traumatic stress disorder or generalized anxiety disorder. It is also crucial to tell your primary care provider about any prescription drugs that are being used, excessive alcohol consumption, or substance abuse. 

Physical Exams: Physical exams may include blood tests to determine if a physical disorder is causing mental health symptoms such as thyroid diseases. It can also help you see what areas in your body need better care.

Cognitive Evaluation: Part of mental health exams includes an assessment of your ability to recall information, mental reasoning, attention or focus, solve basic math problems, remember lists or names, recognize objects and shapes, your personality, and more.

Are there any risks to screening?

There are no risks to having a Mental Health screening, the physical exam, or filling out the questionnaire. 

When Should You See a Mental Health Professional?

You may need a mental health screening if you have symptoms of a mental disorder. Symptoms vary depending on the type of disorder, but self-diagnosing is not recommended and may worsen if left untreated.

  • Common Mental Health symptoms may include:
  • Excessive worrying or fear
  • Extreme sadness
  • Changes in lifestyle and habits at school, home, work, or social relationships
  • Thoughts or intentions of harming oneself or others or feelings of worthlessness.
  • Excessive alcohol intake or substance abuse
  • Experiencing a change in life like the loss of a relationship, getting fired, or failing business
  • Impaired grieving due to the death of a loved one
  • Dramatic mood swings
  • Changes in body image and eating habits 
  • Difficulty in communicating with people in your life
  • Difficulties in sexual orientation or sexual relationships
  • Changes in sleeping patterns
  • Frustration, fatigue, and lack of energy
  • Trouble concentrating, confused thinking, guilt, and paranoia

What Are the Benefits of Mental Health Screening?

The primary benefit of mental health screening is the early diagnosis and prompt treatment if there’s any presence of a mental health condition. Once the mental health worker identifies the signs seen in your assessment, the results can help you determine the proper treatment.

If you or a loved one are going through anxiety, mood swings, changes in behaviors, eating disorders, or other symptoms you can’t seem to explain, please get in touch with Good Therapy’s team of licensed professional counselors and therapists today at 630-473-3971.