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Is Your Child Struggling? A Teen Mental Health Assessment Can Help

What is a Teen Mental Health Assessment?

A teen mental health assessment is “when a health professional tries to understand how your child’s mental health is affecting his quality of life.”

The best place to start is with your teen’s family doctor. “Health professionals, including general practitioners, psychologists and psychiatrists, are best equipped to assess whether a teenager has a mental health problem and provide treatment.”

Unstable teens can also seek help from professional assessment facilities. They provide a safe and nurturing environment for observation and diagnosis.

Who is a Teen Mental Health Assessment For?

Teens struggling with mental and emotional disorders should receive a mental health assessment. Symptoms of distress include:

  • Feelings of anger or worry
  • Feeling grief for a prolonged time after loss or death
  • Think your mind is being controlled or out of control
  • Use of alcohol or drugs
  • Exercise, diet and/or binge-eat in an obsessive manner
  • Hurt other people or destroy property
  • Do reckless things that could harm you or others
  • Feel depressed (sad and hopeless)
  • Suffer from anxiety or other mood disorders
  • Thoughts of suicide or self-harm
teen mental health assessment
What Happens During a Teen Mental Health Assessment?

A teenage mental health assessment takes place over several sessions. A licensed health care provider will “talk with your child about her thoughts, feelings, moods, behavior, relationships, and other things like school, work and home. The aim is to find out how your child’s mental health is affecting her quality of life.”

Professionals use a variety of therapeutic tests to diagnose struggling teens. Techniques include:

  • Art Therapy
  • Music Therapy
  • Photos
  • Play Therapy
  • Drama Therapy
  • Electronic Assessment Tools
  • Storytelling
  • Formal tests for anxiety, depression, learning disability, or substance abuse

Health care providers may also perform comprehensive psychological evaluations. These evaluations provide information about:

  • Severity of symptoms of depression or anxiety
  • Presence of a learning disability
  • Academic strengths and weaknesses
  • Root causes of emotional problems
  • Positive and negative coping styles
  • Reasons for aggressive behavior
  • Information about how your teen views the world
  • Issues or conflicts your teen is struggling with
  • Insight into your teens’ personality style
Professional Help After a Teen Mental Health Assessment

Licensed professionals provide treatment options and holistic plans for families.

Treatment options include a mix of medical and natural therapeutic approaches:

  • Prescribed medication
  • Weekly visits to a licensed therapist
  • Psychotherapies: Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Family Therapy, Group Therapy, Interpersonal Therapy, Play Therapy, and Psychodynamic Psychotherapy
  • Exercise and nutrition plans
  • Mindfulness and meditation/Yoga
  • Art and Animal Therapies
  • Relaxation Techniques
  • Making and keeping healthy friendships
  • Journaling
  • Structure Time/Simplify Life/Set realistic expectations
What Does a Teen Assessment Facility Provide?

Licensed assessment facilities are for teens that don’t respond to outpatient treatments. These facilities provide 24/7 observational care. They delve deeper into your teen’s emotional and mental issues.

Assessment facility testing includes:

  • Psychiatric Evaluation
  • Psychosocial Assessment
  • Family System Assessment
  • Health and Physical Assessment
  • Nutritional Screen Assessment
  • Self-Harm Screen Assessment
  • Psychological and Neurological Evaluation
  • Medication Evaluation

To learn more about assessments, click here.