Expectations from Mental Health Services

What is an Intake Procedure?

When you to see a therapist or physician in Canada, there are several steps or procedures that typically take place, including an intake procedure. Here is an overview:

In Canada, the specific procedures and steps may vary slightly depending on the healthcare provider’s practice, the type of care being sought and the province or territory where the appointment takes place.

When you or a loved one calls 911 or goes to the emergency room seeking urgent care, you might experience the Form 1- Application by Physician for Psychiatric Assessment. Form 1- is a legal tool completed by a physician that allows a person to be detained at a hospital for up to 72 hours (about 3 days) so that their mental health can be examined. A person may then be admitted as a voluntary or involuntary psychiatric patient OR sent home 72 hours (about 3 days) before.

Quality standards are concise sets of statements that will help you know what to ask for in care, help health care professionals know what care they should be offering, based on evidence and expert consensus, help health care organizations measure, assess, and improve their performance in caring for patients. Quality standards do not override the responsibility of health care professionals to make decisions with patients, after considering each patient’s unique circumstances.

Quality standards inform clinicians and organizations about what high-quality health care looks like. They are based on the best available evidence. They also include indicators to help clinicians and organizations assess the quality of care they are delivering, and to identify gaps and areas for improvement. These indicators measure structure, process and outcomes. In addition, tools and resources to support clinicians and organizations in their quality improvement efforts accompany each quality standard. For more information on how to use quality standards, contact qualitystandards@hqontario.ca.

The Ontario Mental Health Act (OMHA) governs the involuntary admission, assessment, and treatment of individuals with mental disorders in Ontario, Canada. Form 1 assessment is a critical process within the OMHA where designated mental health professionals evaluate individuals believed to be at risk of harming themselves or others due to a mental disorder. If the assessment confirms the risk, the individual may be involuntarily admitted to a psychiatric facility for further evaluation and treatment to ensure their safety and well-being.

A Comprehensive Assessment for Mental Health

A comprehensive assessment for mental health decline typically involves several components when you visit a healthcare practitioner:  

  • History Taking: The healthcare practitioner will ask about your medical history, including any previous mental health conditions, treatments, medications, and family history of mental illness.  
  • Symptom Evaluation: They will assess your current symptoms, including mood changes, anxiety levels, sleep patterns, appetite changes, energy levels, cognitive function, and any psychotic symptoms like hallucinations or delusions.  
  • Physical Examination: A physical exam may be conducted to rule out any underlying medical conditions that could contribute to mental health symptoms. This may include checking vital signs, neurological exams, and other relevant assessments.  
  • Mental Status Examination (MSE): This is a structured assessment of your mental state, including your appearance, behavior, mood, thought content, perception, cognition, and insight. It helps the practitioner understand your current mental functioning.  
  • Psychological Testing: Depending on the situation, psychological tests or questionnaires may be administered to assess specific aspects of mental health, such as depression, anxiety, cognitive abilities, personality traits, or trauma history.  
  • Functional Assessment: The practitioner may inquire about your daily functioning, including work or school performance, relationships, self-care activities, and social interactions. This helps evaluate how your mental health symptoms impact your overall life.  
  • Collateral Information: They may gather information from family members, caregivers, or other sources to gain a more comprehensive understanding of your situation, especially if you’re unable to provide certain details or if there are concerns about safety or support.  
  • Diagnostic Formulation: Based on the assessment findings, the practitioner will formulate a diagnosis or differential diagnosis, considering various mental health conditions that could explain your symptoms.  
  • Treatment Planning: Finally, a treatment plan is developed collaboratively with you, which may include medication, psychotherapy, lifestyle modifications, referrals to specialists, support services, and follow-up appointments to monitor progress and adjust interventions as needed.  

This comprehensive assessment approach ensures a thorough understanding of your mental health status and facilitates personalized, effective treatment strategies. 

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Comprehensive List of Diagnostic Tools

The Comprehensive List of Diagnostic Tools is intended to assist in accessing a range of options related to trauma, anxiety, and other mental health topics.