Mental Health Screening: What Is It And Does My Teen Need It?

Oct 17, 2022

What is Mental Health Screening?

A mental health screening is an exam of your emotional health. It helps find out if you have a mental disorder. Mental illnesses are more common than people think! They affect more than half of all Americans at some point in their lives. There are many types of mental disorders that can be tested during a mental health screening.

Some of the most common disorders include:

  • Depression and mood disorders
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Substance abuse and addictive disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Schizophrenia and psychotic disorders

What is a Mental Health Screening Used For?

A mental health screening is used to help diagnose mental disorders. Your primary care provider may use a mental health screening to see if you need to go to a mental health provider. A mental health provider is a healthcare professional that specializes in diagnosing and treating mental health problems. This includes therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists. Check out our article Therapy 101 for more general information!

When Should Someone Consider a Screening?

You may need a mental health screening if you have symptoms of a mental health condition. Symptoms vary depending on the type of disorder, but common signs may include:

  • Excessive worrying or fear
  • Extreme sadness
  • Major changes in personality, eating habits, and/or sleeping patterns
  • Dramatic mood swings
  • Anger, frustration, or irritability
  • Fatigue and lack of energy
  • Confused thinking and trouble concentrating
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Avoidance of social activities

What Can You Expect?

Your primary care provider or the mental health professional you are working with may give you a physical exam and ask you about your feelings, mood, behavior patterns, and other symptoms. Your provider may also order a blood test to find out if a physical disorder, such as thyroid disease, may be causing mental health symptoms.

Online Screening

There are many reputable places where you can take online tests to gather more information about your mental health. While these are not official mental health screenings, they are tests meant to help people identify strategies to help them function better. 

Online screening tools are meant to be a quick snapshot of your mental health. If your results indicate you may be experiencing symptoms of a mental illness, consider sharing your results with someone. A mental health provider (such as a doctor or a therapist) can give you a full assessment and talk to you about options for how to feel better.

Take a mental health test here!

Sign up for teletherapy sessions today through our Betterhelp program. Financial assistance is available for those in need. 

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