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Diagnosis of mental illness

1-minute read

Mental illness can be diagnosed after a detailed mental health assessment in the form of an interview. There are generally no blood tests or brain scans that can confirm a mental illness, although these tests may be useful in finding out other possible causes of the symptoms.

The first step is to visit a doctor or mental health professional. Assessment will include questions about your thoughts, mood and behaviours and it may be helpful to include a family member or carer. Questionnaires are sometimes used, although a diagnosis should not be made on the basis of a questionnaire alone.

It may be necessary to get a referral to a psychiatrist, psychologist or other specialised service for further assessment and treatment.

Not sure what to do next?

If you or someone you know are finding it difficult to manage mental health issues, try healthdirect’s Symptom checker and get advice on when to seek professional help.

The Symptom checker guides you to the next appropriate healthcare steps, whether it’s self care, talking to a health professional, going to a hospital or calling triple zero (000).

Last reviewed: November 2016

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