Jump to a section below

Key points

  • An assessment is when a mental health worker asks you questions about you and your health. They use this information to work out the best way to help you.
  • An assessment may take 1 or more sessions.
  • You can ask someone you trust to come with you to your assessment if you like.
  • You can prepare for an assessment. You can think about what you would like to tell the mental health worker and what questions you would like to ask.

One of the first steps in getting help for your mental health is an assessment. An assessment is when a mental health worker asks you questions about you and your health. They use this information to work out the best way to help you.


Going to see a mental health worker for an assessment


An assessment may take 1 or more sessions.

The mental health workers will tell you when and where the assessment will happen.

If the time or place of the assessment does not suit you, you can:

  • ask if you could do the assessment at another time
  • ask if the assessment could be done somewhere you want.

Sometimes you will not be able to choose where the assessment takes place.


Who can come with you

To any appointment, you can take someone you trust. This could be your:

  • carer
  • family member
  • guardian. A guardian is a person who helps you make decisions about parts of your life when you cannot make decisions by yourself. 
  • support worker
  • friend
  • advocate. An advocate is someone who helps you to speak up and get the support you need.

But it is OK to go on your own if you prefer.


What you should bring

When you make an appointment, the person you communicate with should tell you what you need to bring. To communicate is how you understand and share your feelings or information. Things you may need to bring to an assessment include:

  • a letter your GP has asked you to give to the mental health worker. A GP is the doctor that you see when are sick or need a health check. A GP is also known as a general practitioner.
  • reports that doctors have written about your mental and physical health in the past
  • results of any tests or assessments
  • a list of your medications.

Medication is sometimes called medicine or drugs. Medicine can be in a tablet, a pill, a drink, or an injection. Doctors let people know which medicine to take to help make them better.

Graphic of information in text- what to bring to an assessment


It can be hard to keep track of all your health information. You can make up a folder that you take when you see health workers. This may include:

  • a list of any health issues you have
  • a list of your medications
  • health workers you see
  • any National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) or other disability supports you have
  • your likes/dislikes
  • what helps you/what worries you

There are also sheets you can fill out with some information. These can be useful to take if you ever need to go to hospital.



The mental health worker will also discuss confidentiality when discussing your mental health. Confidentiality means that information about you must not be shared with others unless you say that it is OK to share. Anything you tell health workers will be kept confidential unless there is a good reason to share information such as:

  • you say it is OK
  • you or other people are in danger
  • the law says they must.


Questions the mental health worker may ask you

Mental health workers will ask you questions to get to know you and what is happening for you now. They will use this information to work out the best way to help you feel better.

Mental health workers may ask you these questions.

  • How you feel and about problems you are having now
  • If you have had problems like this in the past. If so, have you got support before? What worked for you and what did not work?
  • If you take any medication
    • If you see a psychiatrist (a mental health doctor), they will ask you about any medications you have taken for your mental health. For example
      • How did you feel when you took it?
      • Did you get side effects? A side effect is an unpleasant effect of medication on your body or thinking. A side effect can make you feel unwell. Some medications can give you side effects.  
      • Did the medication help?
  • About your life at the moment. For example, do you see friends, how you like where you live, and what activities you like to do.
  • About things you like and do not like
  • What you are good at
  • What your recovery goals are. Recovery means getting better so you can do the things you want to do. Your recovery goals are what you would like to be able to do when you feel better.

You can prepare for your appointment by thinking about what your answers may be. You or someone else can note down what you would like to say or any questions you may have.


  • Sometimes when people ask us how we are feeling, we just say ‘fine’. Or we may just always answer ‘yes’. For example, if someone asks you are you sleeping OK, you may just say ‘yes’, even if you are having trouble sleeping.
    • When you communicate with any health worker, it is important to tell them how you are really feeling. For example, if you are feeling unwell or if things are not going well for you. Then the health worker can help you. You will not get in trouble for what you say.
  • It can be a good idea to make an appointment with your GP after you start seeing a new psychologist or psychiatrist to see how it is going for you.


If you have an assessment in the emergency department


  • Emergency departments are sometimes called ED. The emergency department is usually where you go if you have an urgent health problem, especially if you cannot get the help you need in the community.
  • You will communicate with a doctor at the hospital if you must go to the emergency department for your mental health. They will ask you how you are feeling. They may run some tests.