Mental Health Evaluation
"Helping Others Navigate Their Life’s Journey with Grace, Love and Hope while Living out Their Purpose”
Mental Health Evaluations
A psychological evaluation is often thought of as the first line of defense in diagnosing and treating a mental health condition. Performed by a psychologist, it helps them gain an understanding of the severity and duration of your symptoms.
Tests and assessments are the two main components used in an evaluation. The testing part of an evaluation typically includes using formal tests, or “norm-referenced” tests. These are standardized tests that measure an individual’s ability to learn and understand several concepts. Standardized tests, for example, can measure your reading ability compared to others of your same age and grade or intellectual level.
In a psychological evaluation, these tests can be adapted to measure whether an individual might have a particular condition or disorder. An assessment, on the other hand, can include formal tests, like standardized ones, and informal tests, which are those that measure your performance and progress on certain activities.
Common components of an assessment include:
- psychological tests
- surveys and tests
- observational data
- medical and school history
- medical evaluation
Based on the questions asked, assessments can help determine a variety of things from whether you might have a learning disorder to how well you’d work as a manager. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), these evaluations assess your psychological functioning, including your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors to help determine the sort of treatment you may need — in short, the best way to move forward.
If you’re having dizziness or lightheadedness and visit a doctor’s office or clinic, a medical exam will be done. The doctor might perform a battery of tests, such as a blood test or an X-ray, to see whether you have an underlying health condition, like anemia (low iron) or hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). A psychological evaluation works in a similar way. They’re tailored to help your mental health professional get to the root of the symptoms that may be concerning you and influencing certain aspects of your life. And, just like medical exams, early intervention and treatment can help prevent your symptoms from worsening.
Test vs. assessment
Some people wonder why both tests and assessments have to be done. Aren’t they the same thing? Well, yes and no. Tests and assessments are separate ideas but are often used together to get a full picture of where you stand.
“A psychological assessment is gathering information to evaluate a person’s behavior, character, strengths, and needs for the purpose of diagnosing, setting goals, and recommending treatment, While tests can be used as a part of gathering information for an assessment, the tests themselves are not the assessment. On the other hand, tests are instruments used to assess specific features of a person’s functioning. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all evaluation. Each one will be tailored to you and your needs. The tests and assessments chosen will be specific for you. In general, you can expect to spend anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes at the evaluation. Prior to the evaluation, you may be asked to write down your symptoms, thoughts, and emotions. During the evaluation, it’s important to be honest about your current state of mind, your history, and your day-to-day challenges. This will better inform your mental health professional’s understanding of who you are and what may need to be done next.