What To Expect When You Book A Mental Health Screening

Approximately one in four American adults has a diagnosable mental illness in any given year (via Johns Hopkins Medicine) and almost half of the population will deal with a mental health problem at some point during their lifetimes, according to the National Council for Mental Wellbeing.

Mental health struggles increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, with surveys showing that respondents reported an increase in behavioral health problems, per the National Institute of Mental Health. A survey conducted by the CDC in June 2020 found that 31% of participants were experiencing depression or anxiety, and 11% reported experiencing suicidal thoughts within the past month.

To further complicate matters, many people missed their annual physical and mental health screenings due to social distancing guidelines. Therapists continued working with patients through Zoom and other virtual platforms and, although some patients actually preferred this model, others felt it wasn’t as effective as in-person sessions (via Vogue).

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ at​ 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

Here's why you should schedule a mental health screening

Even if you’ve never had a therapist before, experts say it’s important for everyone to get a mental health screening. Dr. Vivek Cherian, MD, an internal medicine physician affiliated with the University of Maryland Medical System, told Byrdie that a year of isolation and an anxiety-inducing situation has taken a toll on many people’s mental health. Dr. Cherian said that mental health screens and referrals can be done virtually if that’s your preference. However, if you would prefer an in-person appointment and are fully vaccinated, there’s no reason you can’t go into an office. If you’ve never had a mental health screening, here’s what to expect.

Per MedlinePlus, your doctor will ask you questions about your mood, behavior patterns, and any other symptoms that could signal a mental health issue. You may also be asked to fill out a questionnaire in advance. If you’re experiencing certain mental health symptoms, a doctor may order bloodwork to rule out the possibility that a physical illness, like a thyroid disorder, is responsible for your symptoms.

First and foremost, be honest about your behaviors and feelings — if you’re struggling with your mental health, there’s absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. Therapists and psychiatrists are here to help you get to the bottom of what’s causing your symptoms and figure out the best way to treat them.

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