Whether you suspect mental illness in your teen or you want to chart the progress towards mental health in your adolescent, self-evaluation tools are easy to use. Plus, they do not require the expertise of a mental health provider. Many assessment tools are meant to be used at home to help clarify whether you need to contact a doctor or therapist.
Below is a list of self-evaluation assessments to use for various mental illnesses that may affect teens, such as depression, anxiety, and eating disorders:
- The Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) is used to assess depression. It is a short questionnaire that is fairly straightforward and easy to read and answer.
- The Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI) assesses symptoms of stress and anxiety. It includes a chart listing various symptoms of anxiety. A teen filling out this form is required to rate those symptoms, based on how much he or she has experienced them in the last 30 days.
- Adolescent Dissociative Experiences Scale II (A-DES) is a 30 question form that is used to measure the degree of dissociation that a teen experiences. Dissociation is a symptom that often results from trauma, whether experienced in childhood or later in life. Dissociation varies in intensity with each individual and can be experienced in different ways. Two forms of dissociation are an inability to feel one’s body and feeling as though one’s environment is not real.
- Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS) is an assessment that measures the degree of obsessive-compulsive symptoms.
- Eating Disorder Inventory (EDI) is one of the most widely used tools for assessing behavior and signs of an eating disorder. It measures attitudes towards eating as well as psychological traits such as perfectionism, insecurity, and impulse control.
These assessment tools are just that – tools. They are not meant to be used to make your own judgment about whether a teen has a particular illness. Rather, it should be used to determine whether or not to call a mental health professional. A therapist, counselor, or psychologist can assess the severity of symptoms and whether any treatment methods are needed.
It’s also important to know that some mental health providers will likely do their own assessment once you bring your teen in for an appointment. This process may take one full session or even last two sessions. Yet, often a mental health provider will assess a teen in a holistic way, which a self-evaluation tool can’t always do. Furthermore, a therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist will likely want to talk to your teen alone, gathering information from the way that your teen talks about his or her symptoms. At the end of a professional assessment, the mental health professional will likely provide you with a diagnosis and an idea for the course of treatment.
As already mentioned, the self-evaluation tools listed above can be the first step in gathering more information about the necessity of professional support for teen mental health. Then, a formal assessment by a mental health professional can provide you with clear information about whether your teen has an illness and what kind of treatment might be required.