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Mental Health Tests as Important Assessment Tools

Central to mental health assessment is the use of reliable and validated assessment tools. Among them are the mental health tests.

In order to accurately conduct diagnosis, prognosis and assessment of symptoms, mental health professionals have developed various types of tests that are apt to the needs of each mental health issue. Obviously, only the subjects within the concern of a specific issue are covered in the tests. Here are some of the basic categories of mental health tests:

Neuropsychological Tests

If a neuropsychological cause is suspected in an individual, the clinician would use a paper-and-pencil test to determine any deficit in sensorimotor and cognitive capacities. These may include a tendency to disregard one or several items in a visual field or attention problem. Among the most common neuropsychological tests is the Bender-Gestalt Test which aims to asses the person's sensorimotor skills by making them reproduce nine drawings.

A person who may have a diagnosable mental illness may be able to reproduce different figures, change the positioning of the figures drawn or change the parts of some of the figures copied. After this activity, they would be asked to remember the image. Most people with mental disorders usually have memory deficits. While this test may not sufficiently identify the specific type of brain damage among people assessed, it is a reliable tool to conclude that a person may or may not have brain damage.

Intelligence Tests

While the use of intelligence tests is usually more productive in educational and industrial settings, it is however useful in determining whether a person is mentally healthy or not. In the clinical setting, these tests are used to have an insight on the person's intellectual capacities, strengths and weaknesses especially when mental damages are suspected. These tests normally were designed to measure basic intelligence, abstract reasoning, verbal fluency and spatial memory. Results from intelligence tests are used in identifying to which bracket of intelligence a person belongs. People with relatively low scores on IQ tests have some forms of mental disability while those scoring way beyond the average individual may have lower susceptibility to the development of mental disorders. However, this should not be taken as a generalization.

Symptom Questionnaires

The most prevalent type of test these days, symptom questionnaires is used by clinicians and laymen alike. In their original forms, symptom questionnaires are used to directly asses whether a person manifests or feels symptoms of a specific disorder. However, such questionnaires could also cover a wide variety of symptoms from different mental disorders.

Personality Inventories

These are questionnaires that are helpful in assessing people's typical manner of behavior, thinking and feeling. These provide the fundamental information on assessing a person's well-being (a very important aspect in mental health), ways of coping, self concept, perception, attitudes, beliefs and vulnerabilities.

Versions of these personality tests are normally seen on online resources. In fact, many people get their mental health assessments from these resources. While these may be helpful as self-help tests, many of the mental health tests on websites are not validated and may have low reliability. These are powerful tools however many are not tested for their validity and reliability. If these two important concepts of psychological testing are not met, the purpose of the test may be defeated.

In case you are using online tests, please be aware that it should be PhD-certified or PhD-approved. Any other types of certifications confirming that someone expert in the field of psychological testing has given his approval of the tests are helpful.


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