Mental Health Evaluations
No two people act the same way or have the same needs. Mental health evaluations are a way to find out what your needs are and how to handle them. If you are asked to have an evaluation, it does not mean you did anything wrong. Evaluations are used to find out what services and placements are best for you. For example, if you are between the ages of 17 and 21 and need housing, having a complete evaluation can help you get into a supportive housing program. Evaluations may also be used to figure out where you should go to school and what services you should get in school. It is important to have new evaluations at least once a year because your needs may change as you get older.
There are three types of evaluations you will most likely need:
A psychiatric evaluation is like a physical you get at your doctor’s office, but it is done by a psychiatrist who examines your mental health. You may be asked about your past, about your relationships with your family and friends, about any hard times you have experienced, about any difficulties you currently have with your emotions or behavior, and about how you are feeling. A psychiatric evaluation may include a diagnosis and recommendations to help guide your treatment team.
A psychosocial assessment gathers information about your history as well as your current situation. It is usually completed by a social worker. You may be asked about your history, your family, your school, your hobbies, and other topics. You may also be asked about your time in foster care. The social worker may also speak with your parents or caregivers.
A psychological evaluation is usually completed by a psychologist. You may be asked to take tests that will assess your IQ and your academic level; your communication, daily living skills, and how you interact with others; and your personality and emotions.