Saint Paul Mental Health Evaluations

There are many reasons you may find yourself exploring the option for your child to participate in a mental health evaluation.

You may have concerns related to depression, anxiety, or trauma that is not responding well to talk therapy. A psychological evaluation is a thorough, in-depth look into your child’s history, abilities, and struggles that will give you and their therapist a much more comprehensive picture, and a clear path forward for treatment. Or, perhaps you have not yet explored therapy options and are unsure of where to even begin. A psychological evaluation will help you sort out where your child is at - so you know the path forward.

You may be considering psychological evaluation for your child or teen who is underperforming at school, or exhibiting defiance or conduct problems. It can be so painful to see your child struggle while you exhaust all the options and feel like nothing is working. A comprehensive psychological evaluation will help identify strengths, concerns, causes for concerning behavior, and clarify any diagnoses to help obtain proper supports. You and your child will walk away from the evaluation process with a solid foundation upon which to build a successful future.   

Should I Consider a Mental Health Evaluation?

Common reasons to consider a comprehensive psychological evaluation include:

  • Depression and mood dysregulation: It is normal and healthy to experience regular changes in mood, but when changes in mood become extreme, persistent and are impacting daily functioning, that may be an indication of a mood disorder such as depression.

  • Anxiety: There are different types of anxiety disorders that impact people in unique ways. Common signs of an anxiety disorder are excessive worry, fear or panic that interferes with daily living. People with an anxiety disorder may find it difficult to concentrate and accomplish common tasks, experience physical symptoms of rapid breathing, sweating, and shaking, have trouble sleeping, often feel fatigued, and avoid situations that cause the anxiety.

  • Trauma: Being exposed to a traumatic or stressful events can cause psychological distress in many people that manifests itself in ways such as excessive worrying, difficulty concentrating, re-experiencing the traumatic event, and dissociation.

  • Defiant Behavior or Conduct Problems: Children who demonstrate more minor, but persistent behaviors such as not following rules, losing their temper, arguing and blaming others, may have Oppositional Defiant Disorder, whereas more severe behaviors such as aggression toward people and animals, destruction of property, and theft are symptomatic of Conduct Disorder.  While both of these disorders typically remit by adolescence and adulthood, they can lead to other behavioral and cognitive concerns as an adult, therefore early identification and intervention is crucial to mitigate the negative impact of these disorders.

 

What Happens During a Mental Health Evaluation?

Comprehensive psychological evaluations may include clinical interviews, cognitive assessments, achievement testing, behavior rating scales, personality questionnaires, observations, and a review of educational, clinical and medical records. Specific tests and evaluation procedures will vary depending on the individual and presenting concerns.

 

What to Expect Following a Mental Health Evaluation?

After the testing and assessment is complete, the results will be complied in a comprehensive report that includes a summary of the results, diagnostic impressions and recommendations. The report will include strengths to build on as well as areas of concern to address. In the feedback session, we will walk you through each page of the report, clearly explain key findings, answer any questions you have and discuss recommendations for further supports.