Many of us go to the doctor for a physical checkup from time to time, especially as we get older and things start creaking or breaking down on our bodies. Suddenly they don’t quite work the way they used to, or the way you’ve come to expect.
But few of us think about going to a doctor or therapist for an emotional or mental health checkup. And that’s a shame, because things break down in our minds too.
Ann Carrns, writing over at the New York Times, suggests that the time has perhaps finally come where people start taking their mental health as seriously as their physical health.
But taking periodic stock of your emotional well-being can help identify warning signs of common ailments like depression or anxiety. Such illnesses are highly treatable, especially when they are identified in their early stages, before they get so severe that they precipitate some sort of personal — and perhaps financial — crisis.
“Absolutely, people should have a mental health checkup,” said Jeffrey Borenstein, editor in chief of Psychiatric News, published by the American Psychiatric Association. “It’s just as important as having a physical checkup.”
While I agree, in principle, with this idea, I wonder how many professionals are properly trained to offer a mental health wellness “checkup” of this nature. And just as importantly, whether your insurance would pay for such a checkup.
Weirdly, the article points to a website suggesting it’s a place where “you can use a free online screening tool” to see if you have any of the common mental disorders. But I couldn’t find such tools anywhere on the site.
If you’re interested in a free online screening tool for mental disorders, I might humbly suggest our own Sanity Score mental health screening tool, which offers instant results detailing not only major mental health problems, but also other common problems of living. It takes about 10 minutes to take, and at the end it offers you a report you can print out and take into a professional for review.
As for a mental health checkup, I think it’s a good idea, but perhaps one that most people still aren’t going to be comfortable with. Just as some people fear with going to a physician, there’s this common (but false) belief that if I go to a therapist and they dig deep enough, they will always find a problem or something that could be worked on.
And in our emotional health life, I’d probably have to agree with that sentiment, since nobody is perfect. We could all benefit from self improvement, making a mental health checkup somewhat of a subjective, slippery slope (since few clinicians employ objective testing to assess for these concerns).
Read the full article: The Importance of Regular Mental Health Checkups
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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 14 Nov 2012
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.
Grohol, J. (2012). Going for an Emotional Health Checkup. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 12, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2012/11/14/going-for-an-emotional-health-checkup/