Importance of Conducting Initial Mental Health Screening

Periodic initial mental health screening needs to be done, especially if there is a risk of developing mental disorders. This cannot be underestimated because mental health problems that are detected too late can lead to poor quality of life, even suicide.

There are still many people who think that screening or initial mental health screening is only necessary for people who are already experiencing symptoms of mental health disorders. This assumption is certainly wrong, because this screening can be done by anyone without having to wait for symptoms to appear.

In addition, early examination or mental health screening is important as part of a healthy life, not only physically but also psychologically.

Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, where many people are becoming more at risk of developing mental health problems due to excessive anxiety and stress. Therefore, it is important to carry out this early screening as an effective step in maintaining mental health during a pandemic.

Benefits of Mental Health Early Screening

The benefits of early mental health screening are basically to detect more quickly or determine a person's risk for developing mental disorders, such as anxiety disorders, depression, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The sooner it is detected, the better the effectiveness of treating mental health problems that can be provided by psychologists and psychiatrists. That way, the risk of complications or greater problems due to mental disorders, such as drug use or suicidal ideation can be prevented.

Therefore, don't hesitate to routinely carry out initial mental health screenings, especially if you are at risk for mental problems, for example due to severe stress, are experiencing mental stress, or have a family history of mental disorders.

In addition, early examination or early mental health screening is also important for people who experience the following symptoms:

  • Often feel excessive anxiety, worry, or fear
  • Mood (mood) fast-changing and extreme
  • Quick to be sad and easily emotional
  • Lack of energy or fatigue
  • Feeling yourself worthless or self-esteem low
  • Difficult to concentrate
  • Difficult to deal with stress
  • Often avoids social situations or communication with others
  • Have or risk self-harm (self-harm)
  • Had thought or even tried to commit suicide

In addition, mental health screening is also important for people who have a dependence or addiction to drugs, cigarettes, alcoholic beverages, or unhealthy habits, such as gambling.

Implementation of Mental Health Initial Screening

Mental health testing or screening consists of many types and methods. Not only can it be done on adults, early mental health screening is also important for children and adolescents.

Initial mental health screening can also be done independently by answering a few questions on mental health websites. However, to be more accurate, this examination is generally recommended to be carried out by a psychologist or psychiatrist.

In carrying out the initial mental health screening, the doctor or psychologist will usually start with an interview session (interview) with the patient about his general medical history, including any mental health symptoms he may be experiencing.

In addition, the doctor or psychologist may also ask about the history of using drugs or supplements, the patient's daily habits, and anything that has disturbed the patient in his life recently.

If the patient is judged to have symptoms of a certain psychiatric disorder or is at high risk for mental health problems, the doctor or psychologist may advise the patient to undergo a psychiatric medical examination.

Once the diagnosis is confirmed, the new patient will receive appropriate treatment, either through psychotherapy, medication, or both.

Independent Mental Health Initial Screening

Today's technological advances have indeed made it easier for many people to access a variety of information, including how to conduct independent mental health screening tests online and free of charge.

Usually the screening consists of several questions that you can answer, then the results will appear after you have finished answering all the questions.

It is actually possible to do this. However, you are advised to still show the results to your doctor or psychologist. This is important so that you can get an accurate and clearer explanation of your mental health condition.

Also, it's important to understand that having self-screening tests online doesn't mean you can ignore the role of doctors or psychologists. This is because the results of a mental health screening test independently cannot be a benchmark for determining a diagnosis or your mental condition completely.

To evaluate mental conditions and diagnose mental disorders, it is still necessary to be examined by a psychiatrist or psychologist. Therefore, do not hesitate to consult a psychologist or psychiatrist if you want to do an initial mental health screening test.