Atlantic Behavioral Health logo

Psychiatric Evaluation

Psychiatric evaluations are usually performed during the initial visit to  behavioral health intensive outpatient services, and it incorporates a range of present behaviors. This could be in relation to physical health, family history, emotional state, cognitive thinking, social and environmental conditions, and educational situations.

What is a Psychiatric Evaluation?

A psychiatric evaluation is conducted to evaluate an individual’s behavioral, psychological, and emotional well-being. Also known as a mental health assessment, this evaluation is performed with three main purposes in mind:

  1. Gain vital information about their current mental health status
  2. Diagnose any potential psychiatric disorders
  3. Understand and put together an individualized treatment plan

The attendee of a psychiatric evaluation is not usually the person who arranges this assessment. In many cases, it is a family member, friend, or teacher who suspects the person is suffering from mental health concerns. If they are acting rebellious, sad, or disruptive due to a change in their environment, behaviors, or feelings, this can be a sign they have a mental health disorder.

Do you suspect someone is dealing with mental health issues? Perhaps you feel a change in your mental health and require professional treatment. Either way, it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible.

The quicker mental health treatment is sought, the greater the possibility of recovery.

Psychiatric Evaluation in MA with Atlantic Behavioral Health

Getting the right psychiatric evaluation is important. If a person is attending this assessment, they want any mental health conditions to be identified accurately. They also require clarity with their diagnosis, including what to expect in the coming weeks, months, and even years. Furthermore, a professional behavioral health provider constructs a recommended treatment plan for dealing with their mental health condition.

With Atlantic Behavioral Health, there’s no need to worry about receiving the right psychiatric evaluation.

At our mental health care center in Massachusetts, our team will perform a thorough psychiatric evaluation, going over every step to ensure the assessment is accurate, covers all areas, and goes beyond the initial interview, including an analysis of a person’s social, medical, and family history.

Although driven to get the right result, our mental health professionals are also kind and considerate in their approach. We know this can be a difficult situation for you or a loved one, and that’s why we make our psychiatric evaluations as welcoming and comfortable as possible.

Our evaluations take place in an outpatient setting. This is suitable for those who display less severe mental health conditions and includes those who can go about their daily life and manage their symptoms, all while being able to attend regular appointments. For more severe cases where extensive or immediate treatment is needed, an inpatient setting – such as a hospital – is recommended.

Don’t suffer in silence. If you require assistance with diagnosing potential mental health disorders, we are here to help you. Along with effective, evidence-based methods for diagnosing issues, we know how to identify and provide the necessary support required afterward.

Different Psychiatric Evaluation Types

The American Psychiatric Association identifies three main psychiatric evaluation types. These are:

General Psychiatric Evaluation

A general psychiatric evaluation is performed when it is suspected someone has a mental health condition. Conducted by mental health professionals, this is a comprehensive assessment to learn about a patient’s mental health symptoms, overall functioning, and current status. This is the foundation behind a diagnosis and the next step: producing a treatment plan.

A lot of information is used for this evaluation. Medical and family history are part of the assessment. The reason for the latter is that family members share the same genes, and this can result in certain mental health conditions being passed down. To rule out other illnesses and medical conditions, a psychiatrist may also order lab tests as part of the evaluation.

Along with interviews with the patient, general evaluations may also incorporate standardized psychological questionnaires or tests to further assess possible conditions present. This comprehensive evaluation leads to two results. Firstly, the psychiatrist has a holistic understanding of the individual. Secondly, they can design a custom treatment plan based on the person’s symptoms.

Emergency Psychiatric Evaluation

Emergency evaluations are ordered when they are required immediately for the person’s protection. Prior to the assessment being performed, other medical reasons have to be ruled out by a professional. If no other reasons are behind these symptoms, the person is referred to a psychiatrist for an emergency evaluation.

There are numerous situations where this type of emergency evaluation is necessary. These situations include when a person:

  • Displays violent behavior towards other people or themselves
  • Is confused and highly agitated
  • Exhibits suicidal behavior or threatens self-harm
  • Is hallucinating
  • Exhibits symptoms of mental illness and has a history of substance abuse

The main goal of this emergency assessment is to work out how much care is required to address this sudden crisis. This evaluation will see the clinician decide the best treatment solution. They will assess if the person requires outpatient treatment, inpatient treatment, access to resources for ongoing support, or another form of treatment.

Clinical Consultation

For complex cases where a person is exhibiting mental health issues, a clinical consultation can be requested. Clinical consultations are also used by a primary healthcare provider who wants to seek a second opinion to improve the outcomes of patient care.

If concerning behaviors are being displayed by a loved one, you can request on their behalf a clinical consultation to see if psychiatric attention is necessary. The person receiving this evaluation is informed about the situation.

Psych eval in MA
Atlantic Behavioral Health Psych Evaluation
Psych eval in MA
Atlantic Behavioral Health Psych Evaluation

Preparing for a Psychiatric Evaluation

If you are scheduled for a psychiatric assessment, you might be wondering how to properly prepare for this evaluation. The good news is that not much preparation is required from your side. However, there are a few points to consider before you visit for a clinical interview.

Some self-preparation is recommended. Write down how you are feeling to confront your feelings and current mindset. You should also make a note of the symptoms you believe you’ve experienced. Furthermore, list any medication you’ve taken, along with any previous doctor visits you have made.

There’s another aspect to think about: cost. While health insurance may cover this expense, it’s not always a possibility.  

Just remember that a psychiatric evaluation is only effective if you are willing to open up and be honest. You need to help your provider first for them to help you.

How a Psychiatric Evaluation is Performed

Before going in for a psychiatric evaluation, you could be curious about how this is conducted. A standard assessment will usually last for 60 to 90 minutes. However, this is down to the individual. More complex cases could have a much longer duration.

To understand your behavioral health and mental state, a series of questions will be asked. Questions you can expect to receive include:

  • Has anyone in your family committed suicide?
  • Does mental illness run in your family history?
  • Have you suffered from a substance use disorder in the past?
  • How was your childhood?
  • Have you been subjected to abuse in the past?
  • Do you suffer from panic attacks?
  • Have you had problems with sleeping?
  • Do you have any history of medical conditions or undergoing surgery?
  • Have you previously been diagnosed with a mental health condition?

These questions are not easy to answer. They will naturally feel intrusive and invasive. Nevertheless, they are necessary for an accurate evaluation to be conducted. Fail to answer any question accurately and honestly, and you won’t get an exact diagnosis.

As you answer questions, the examiner will observe you in numerous ways. This includes observing your general appearance, speech, concentration, memory, awareness, perception, hygiene, mood, and attitude.

After a clinical interview, the following steps may also be taken as part of your psychiatric evaluation:

Mental Status Examination (MSE)

An MSE is performed at the same time as the general evaluation. It is used to diagnose emotional, cognitive, and behavioral functioning. The aim is to uncover potential cognitive deficits, mood disturbances, or abnormal thought processes.

Diagnostic Assessment

After the clinical interview and MSE, enough information is gathered for a psychiatrist to perform a diagnostic assessment. The aim is to determine the most suitable diagnosis that matches your identified experiences and symptoms.

Assessment Tools

In certain cases, assessment tools like rating scales or questionnaires are used. These can supply valuable insights and offer a more objective measurement of your symptoms.

Collateral Information

Collateral sources, like your family members, friends, and healthcare professionals, can be used to gather more information. It can give added context or validate your initial report.

Medical and Neuropsychological Evaluation

Medical examinations like lab tests can be used to determine if any underlying medical conditions are contributing to your mental health issues. This evaluation can include both urine and blood tests.

Treatment Planning

With all of this gathered information, a provider will have comprehensive notes about your mental health. This is used to put together a suitable treatment plan. This can include lifestyle change recommendations, medication management, and psychotherapy.


Ongoing communication is maintained throughout the treatment process. This is done to keep track of progress, address questions or emerging concerns, and adjust the treatment if required.

Contact Us Today To Find Out More

At our specialist intensive outpatient center, we can give you the help you need to treat your depressive disorder and symptoms in the right way with exceptional mental health treatment. Mental health treatment is crucial, and we’re here to help you every step of the way. Get in touch, and we can start your recovery journey together.

Scroll to Top