Initial Assessment

The first step towards recovery from depression, anxiety and stress is to undergo an Initial Assessment. This consists of an hour of individual time with a doctor, during which a structured exploration will take place, designed to gather relevant information, clarify the diagnosis and create a management plan.

An Initial Assessment can be an uplifting and solution-focused experience, with patients often reporting afterwards that they feel less burdened, and with a renewed sense of optimism that positive change can take place.

Psychiatric assessment

Although every Initial Assessment is as unique as the individual, there are some common themes which will be covered, and a meeting may look like this:

1. Psychiatric Assessment

A personal medical meeting to explore topics such as the course of the present illness, past psychiatric history, past medical history, early background and development, relationships, employment, history of family illness and medication history. In addition, a mental state examination will examine functions such as mood and cognitive abilities. There will, however, be no pressure to speak about any difficult topics, and the whole process will be taken at a comfortable pace.

2. Diagnosis

Having gathered together the relevant information, a working diagnosis will be formulated and discussed, with an explanation of relevant terminology. The diagnostic classifications used will be as detailed in the International Clasification of Disease (ICD-10), published by the World Health Organisation.

3. Treatment Plan

The final phase of the Initial Assessment will move on to discussing the various treatment options, both psychological (talking therapy) and biological (medication). The pros and cons of each will be explained and a treatment plan drawn up, with approximate timescales, costs and anticipated outcomes outlined. Contact details, including personal email addresses, will be provided.

4. Report Preparation

Following the meeting, a detailed written report will be prepared, containing the relevant aspects of the assessment, diagnosis and treatment plan. With the patient’s consent, this may be shared with other healthcare professionals involved in the treatment plan.

5. Implementation

Immediate referrals will be made to specialist practitioners, according to the treatment plan. Depending on the degree of need, these may include one-to-one sessions with a Clinical Psychologist, enrolment in the Day Hospital, or residential treatment.

6. Follow up

Ongoing sessions with doctors and other specialists will be arranged as necessary. The aim is now to maintain a tight and ongoing focus to ensure that an optimal outcome is obtained, by monitoring medication and ensuring that all professionals work together to maximum effect.