October is National Depression and Mental Health Screening Month. Approximately 50% of lifetime mental health conditions begin by age 14, and 75% start by age 24. However, there is often a significant delay between when symptoms present and when intervention and treatment happen. It’s proven that early intervention and treatment lead to better outcomes for mental health, which is why mental health screenings are as vital as screenings for physical health.

Screening is not the same thing as a diagnosis, but rather it’s intended to help people start a conversation with their physician or other health care providers about their mental health.

mental health

What happens during a mental health screening?

Mental health screenings are often part of a regular check-up. Your doctor may give you a physical exam and also discuss your emotional state, mood, behaviors, and other symptoms you may be having. Sometimes the provider will order a blood test to rule out any physical disorders causing mental health symptoms.

If a mental health professional is screening you, they may ask more detailed questions about your mental health, and you may also need to fill out a questionnaire about any symptoms you’re experiencing.

Who should get a mental health screening?

Mental health can be influenced by several different factors; genetic, environmental, and biological. Not everyone’s experience is the same, but mental illness can affect anyone at any time- it doesn’t discriminate.

Mental health issues like depression and anxiety are highly treatable conditions. Still, it’s important to see a professional if you are experiencing any symptoms because the more proactive you are about seeking treatment, the better the outcome can be.

Some of the more common symptoms of mental health disorders include:

Excessive worrying

Feeling empty

Frequent sadness

Drastic changes in eating habits or sleeping patterns

Dramatic mood swings

Frequent bouts of anger or irritability

Fatigue

Inability to focus

Feelings of worthlessness

Social withdrawal

Thoughts of suicide

You should see your primary care provider or a qualified mental health professional if you’re experiencing these symptoms for longer than a couple of weeks or if the symptoms are so severe that they interfere with your daily routine.

What are the next steps after a mental health screening?

A screening is not a professional diagnosis. Instead, screenings provide a path for referrals and any further evaluation.

If screening indicates that you should seek further evaluation for your mental health, you will most likely get a referral to a mental health provider. Many mental health providers have their own screening tools and provide resources and treatment after an initial assessment.

Serene Health offers online screenings for several mental health conditions for adults and youth. After the screening, we will provide you with resources and information to help you better understand and improve your mental health.

Serene Health also provides various behavioral health and mental health services and offers appointments via our Telehealth platform seven days a week, so you can speak to a therapist from any place you choose. If you need mental health services, call Serene Health at 844-737-3638 or visit us at www.serenehealth.com to schedule an appointment.