Initial interview Mental Status Exam

Mental status examination

The Mental Status Examination (MSE) is a means of gathering and recording information regarding an individual's mental state in a clinical interview. It is commonly used by treating clinicians to communicate information in the medical record and is often included in a forensic mental health report in order to convey the evaluee's mental condition at the time of examination. In this article, we review the similarities and differences between clinical treatment interviews and the forensic interview, with regards to the data obtained in each setting. We then summarize the major categories of descriptive data that are generally included in the MSE, whether in the context of treatment or in the context of a forensic evaluation. The MSE is of interest in the forensic setting in two main instances: in forensic evaluations by mental health experts and in medical records that are subpoenaed for civil or criminal cases. The article concludes with a brief comment on the reliability and limitations of the MSE.

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