Mental Status Examination Checklist

Android: Mental Status

Use screening tools
Standardised screening tools can greatly assist reliability in identifying mental illness and/or substance abuse problems. Many are self-completion. They can take from 2 to 15 minutes to complete.

Initial data
If the client has case notes, review previous assessments, issues and summaries.

The presenting issue
Listening and listing the presenting issue/complaint(s) may unfold symptomatology surrounding the issue and social context. e.g.
"What brings you here?"
"How has that affected you?"
"What did this make you think/feel?"
"How long has this been going on - when were you last your normal self?"
"How has this affected the rest of your life - work, interests. sleep?"
"When was the last time you enjoyed yourself?"
"Is this affecting the other members of the family? How are your children going at school?
"Have you had this problem before? What did you do? What worked?" Are you getting help from anyone else?

Assessment of suicidality and dangerousness
"Does it ever seem that life is not worth living?"
"Have you ever thought of ever harming or even killing yourself?"
"Have you ever had any previous suicide attempts or tried to hurt yourself?"
Investigate further if there is any indication of suicidal or self-harm thoughts or behaviour.

Past psychiatric history
- Time and nature of previous presentations
- Past and current treatments and their effectiveness
- Names of previous therapists
- Past admissions

Past medical history

Current medication

Alcohol and other substance use
- The amount consumed and the period and pattern of use
- Tolerance: increasing amounts required to acheive the same effect
- Withdrawal symptoms
- Previous attempts to cut down - were they successful
- Salience of drug use: ie how central is drug us to the person's life - time spent at the expense of other life areas
- Complications: physical (eg. alcohol associated liver disease, peptic ulcer) psychological (eg. amphetamine induced depression)
- Disability and handicap: loss of job, legal (eg. driving under the influence), social (eg. neglect of children, marital breakdown)

Family psychiatric history

Personal history
Childhood, Schooling, Work history, Marital/relationship history, Current interests, Goals

Pre-morbid personality
- "What sort of person are you when you are well?"
- Some underlying personality disorders may predispose to the development of mental disorder: eg. antisocial personality leading to drug addiction leading to depression.

Mental State Examination

Appearance
General appearance, grooming, etc. Caution regarding cultural norms. For example the 'grunge' look is appropriate for some youth culture

Behaviour
Slow or accelerated movements, anxious looking, etc.

Conversation
Note volume and rate of speech. For example, pressure of speech (speaking very fast) may indicate amphetamine use, mania or both.

Mood/affect
Mood refers to the sustained emotional tone as reported by the individual. For example depressed, angry, elated, irritable or anxious.
Affect refers to the varying emotional response witnessed during the interview. For example, appropriate, flat, labile, fatuous.

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