Module 3 - Assessment of Mental Health for People with an Intellectual Disability

The Mental Status Examination (MSE)

Symptoms - These are the problems a patient complains of when they see a doctor. For example, a cough, pain, or feeling nauseous are all symptoms and may be caused by many different conditions.  Signs of illness - These are features or characteristics of an illness that the doctor observes, although the patient may not be aware of these. These might include things like abnormal sounds when the doctor listens to the heart or changes in the nail bed. In any medical examination it is important to get a history of the symptoms and how they are affecting a person and to undertake an examination to detect any signs of illness. The same approach is adopted in mental health practice. A history of the problems is taken to elicit symptoms, and it is then important to examine a person’s state of mind for signs of illness. This is done by undertaking a mental state examination, which is a standard way of examining someone’s mental capacity and function.  The aim of a mental state examination (MSE) is to identify and record the symptoms and signs of mental illness. It is a standard way of collecting and recording information under specific headings.  This will be described next, with the descriptions of some of the more common symptoms and signs of mental illness.

Symptoms and signs of mental illness are recorded in a mental state examination. Take a

moment, before continuing, to think about what symptoms and signs might be present in a

person with a mental illness.

Home Home Select Module Select Module About VDDS About VDDS Provide Feedback Provide Feedback Continue Learning