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If you are a mental health practitioner, you have likely experienced the frustration of needing to gather more information about your client.

Usually, people hide information. After all, they feel shame or embarrassment.
However, have you ever considered that there might be another reason? Perhaps the person you are interviewing needs to understand what the question means. Notice anything in common with these questions: “Do you have any feelings of depression?” and “Do you have any feelings of sadness?”
One would assume they both ask if a person experiences sadness or depression, but one uses a better word to capture accurate symptoms. This is why it is so important for professionals to use clear and precise language when conducting assessments. COMPREHENSIVE INTEGRATED PSYCHIATRIC ASSESSMENT


Continuing with the example, maybe your client reports feeling sad and that they feel like crying. In your assessment, you might have written that the person reports feeling sad or depressed. However, if you had used the word depressed, it would have held more meaning for your client. For example, some people might not understand that depression differs from sadness or grief. So, when you ask if a person experiences depression emotionally and cognitively, it helps to clarify their issue so that you can provide better care for them. COMPREHENSIVE INTEGRATED PSYCHIATRIC ASSESSMENT

A comprehensive, integrated psychiatric assessment (CIPS) is the best method to gather as much information as possible about your client’s mental health status and needs. COMPREHENSIVE INTEGRATED PSYCHIATRIC ASSESSMENT



Many assessment principles are the same for children and adults; however, unlike with adults/older adults, where consent for participation in the assessment comes from the actual client, with children, it is the parents or guardians who must make the decision for treatment. Issues of confidentiality, privacy, and consent must be addressed. When working with children, it is important not only to be able to connect with the pediatric patient, but also to be able to collaborate effectively with the caregivers, other family members, teachers, and school counselors/psychologists, all of whom will be able to provide important context and details to aid in your assessment and treatment plans.


Some children/adolescents may be more difficult to assess than adults, as they can be less psychologically minded. That is, they have fewer insights into themselves and their motivations than adults (although this is not universally true). The PMHNP must also take into consideration the child’s culture and environmental context. Additionally, with children/adolescents, there are lower rates of neurocognitive disorders superimposed on other clinical conditions, such as depression or anxiety, which create additional diagnostic challenges.

In this Discussion, you review and critique the techniques and methods of a mental health professional as the practitioner completes a comprehensive, integrated psychiatric assessment of an adolescent. You also identify rating scales and treatment options that are specifically appropriate for children/adolescents.

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