Mental Health Screening – What You Need To Know

As the holidays draw closer and the weather changes, many find this time of year a challenging time for mental health. The lack of sunshine, colder temperatures, the pressure to be with family, holiday events and projects adding more to your plate and end-of-year deadlines looming at work all contribute to debilitating stress and emotions. 

Maintaining your mental health during such a busy season can be very stressful for those struggling mentally. According to U.S. Health, a survey conducted by the American Psychological Association showed that 33% of people say that their stress levels highly increase during the holiday season. A NAMI study also showed that 64% of people with mental illness report that holidays make their conditions worse. 

Even predictable and circumstantial stress can lead to mental health episodes. If you’re struggling with mental illness, a mental health screening might be a step in the right direction in order to get help. Keep reading for more information on mental health screenings and where you can find accessible and affordable mental health screenings.

Mental Health Today

If you are one of the millions of individuals affected by a mental illness, you are not alone. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) shows that 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. experience mental illness each year. 

The mental health stigma is alive and well. According to the CDC, between August 2020 and February 2021, the percentage of adults with recent symptoms of anxiety or a depressive disorder increased from 36.4% to 41.5%. The percentages of those reporting an unmet mental health care need increased from 9.2% to 11.7%. OneDigital states that the number of Americans living with mental health challenges increased by 1.5 million since last year’s report. However, before the pandemic, this number was over 25 million nationwide.

Not many people talk about the mental health stigma, which stops millions of people from getting the help and treatment they deserve. Your mental state is important to know and to talk about. No one should be left behind when it comes to their mental state. The stigma has caused people to feel ashamed for something that is out of their control. If you are experiencing a mental health illness and want to end the stigma, keep reading to learn how.

According to Nami, here are 9 ways to fight the mental health stigma:

  1. Talk Openly About Mental Health
  2. Educate Yourself and Others
  3. Be Conscious of Language
  4. Encourage Equality Between Physical and Mental Illness
  5. Show Compassion for those with Mental Illness
  6. Choose Empowerment over Shame
  7. Be Honest About Treatment
  8. Let the Media Know When They’re Being Stigmatizing
  9. Don’t Harbor Self-Stigma

Although one’s mental health is not commonly talked about in our personal or work lives — now is a time to verbalize how you are feeling and time to end the stigma!

What is Mental Health Screening?

A mental health screening is an assessment to determine the presence of symptoms of common mental health disorders. The data collected is used to diagnose which type of mental health disorder is present, the changes in personality and what the proper treatment is. According to the Kentucky Counseling Center, some of the mental health screening tests include:

  • Mental Evaluation
  • Personal and Family History
  • Physical Exams
  • Cognitive Evaluation

A mental health screening is a valuable tool when it comes to determining possible mental disorders including:

  • Depression and Mood Disorders: Unlike the normal feelings of sadness or grief depression and mood disorders are a much deeper extreme of anger, frustration or sadness. 
  • Anxiety Disorders: Anxiety can cause an excessive amount of fear or worry surrounding real events in the future or imagined situations that may never happen. 
  • Eating Disorders: The mental relationship between an individual and food can lead to unhealthy behaviors and habits. There are multiple different types of eating disorders and they can each look extremely different. 
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): Common in both children and adults, this disorder causes individuals to have difficulties paying attention or controlling impulsive behaviors. 
    • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Brought on by any stressful or traumatic life event, individuals dealing with PTSD feel stressed or anxious long after the danger or event has happened. 
  • Substance Abuse and Addictive Disorders: Many struggle with excessive use of drugs or alcohol in order to cope or have other underlying disorders.  
  • Bipolar Disorder or Manic Depression: Individuals with Bipolar Disorder will have alternating episodes of mania (extreme highs) and extreme lows, such as depression explains Medline Plus. This disorder is difficult to uncover and can be often mistreated.  
  • Schizophrenia and Psychotic Disorders: Those dealing with schizophrenia often see, hear and/or believe things that are not happening or not real. This is one of the most serious psychiatric disorders and can be difficult to treat.

Mental health disorders like these can range from extreme to mild and multiple disorders can be found in the same individual.

Why is Mental Health Screening Important? 

Mental health screenings allow for early identification or even intervention. Mental health screenings may also be used to help guide your treatment for an already found mental disorder.

If you are unsure about the screening, you may ask your health care provider for their thoughts. Some primary care providers may use the screening to see if you need help beyond their care like a professional that specializes in treating mental health problems. 

Although this subject can be scary to some, there are no risks to having a mental health exam or taking a mental health questionnaire. The screening takes little time and there is no preparation needed prior to the screening. 

Results from mental health screenings may be alarming to some but they can hold vital answers. If diagnosed with a mental disorder it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible. This treatment may put an end to long-term suffering or help any disability.

Who Can Perform A Mental Health Screening? 

The National Alliance on Mental Illness explains, “At least 8.4 million people in the U.S. provide care to an adult with mental or emotional health issues.” Most common mental health providers can perform a mental health screening, including: 

  • Psychiatrists – Medical doctors who specialize in mental health and can treat mental health disorders. 
  • Psychologists – Professionals trained in psychology who can diagnose and treat mental health disorders. 
  • Licensed Clinical Social Workers (L.C.S.W.) – Individuals with a master’s degree in social work with training in mental health. 
  • Licensed Professional Counselors (L.P.C) – These individuals have a master’s degree, but can provide counseling for a variety of mental health problems. 
  • Advanced Practice Registered nurses (APRNs) – Specifically trained nurses who have a master’s or doctoral degree in psychiatric nursing. 

All of these individuals can help with mental health problems — while some may not be able to prescribe mental health medicine, they all offer support. If you are unsure which mental health provider may be of service to you, talk to your primary care provider.

How Do I Check the Status of My Mental Health? 

If you are questioning if you may need a mental health screening you should look for signs or symptoms of a mental disorder. Symptoms may vary across multiple individuals but common signs may include: 

  • Excessive worry or fear
  • Extreme sadness
  • Major changes in sleeping patterns, eating habits or personality traits
  • Dramatic mood changes
  • Irritability 
  • Lack of energy 
  • Trouble concentrating 
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness 

There are many more symptoms that show signs of a possible mental disorder. If you relate to any of these signs — a mental health screening could be helpful and may provide the answers you’ve been looking for.

What Resources Are Available in the Kansas City Area? 

Knowing where you can seek help for your mental health can be a huge step in no longer suffering from a mental disorder. Here are a few places you can receive a mental health screening in the Kansas City area: 

A few places an individual can seek help for their mental health also include: 

Starting off healthy at the start of a new season is extremely important — both physically and mentally. Scheduling a check-up with your primary care physician is always important no matter the reason. 

Don’t let the stigma of mental health or a lack of knowledge stop you from getting the help you deserve or need. KC Primary Care helps prioritize your health, time and money. 

Your mental health is important! Let us KC Primary Care help you find out more information about your mental health. Visit, call us at 816.479.5222, or email to schedule an appointment with our team.


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