Who Can Diagnose Mental Illness?

October has been designated as National Depression and Mental Health Screening Month. If you are concerned about symptoms that you have been experiencing, now is a good time to seek out a mental health screening and diagnosis. You may be wondering who can diagnose mental illness. There are many different types of healthcare professionals who can help with your mental health.

National Depression and Mental Health Screening Month

The month of October is recognized as National Depression and Mental Health Screening Month. It is important to remember that a screening is not a diagnosis, but it is a good first step toward getting help. You can access free online screenings and then follow up with a healthcare professional who can guide you through a diagnosis for your symptoms.

Why consider depression screening? If you have been experiencing any of these signs of depression, it can be helpful to explore your condition further.

  • Trouble sleeping, including falling or staying asleep or sleeping too much
  • Lack of energy and fatigue
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities you once enjoyed
  • Irritability, anger or frustration
  • Feelings of restlessness
  • Trouble focusing, concentrating or making decisions
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Gaining or losing weight unintentionally

What is Mental Illness?

If you have a mental health condition, you typically have a disturbance in your thinking, feeling or behavior that reflects an issue with your mental functions. The condition can cause problems for you at work and at home. Mental illness includes a variety of mental health conditions, including depression and anxiety.

Mental illness is common in the US. About 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness each year and 1 in 25 live with a serious mental illness (SMI). SMI is used to described the most severe of mental health conditions, which can include schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Who Can Diagnose Mental Illness?

There are a number of professionals who can also help assess and diagnose mental illness. Some are also qualified to prescribe medications, when needed, to address your symptoms.

An integral part of mental health treatment, a therapist can help you better understand and cope with your feelings, thoughts and behaviors, offering you guidance to help you improve your ability to achieve your life goals. Masters-level healthcare professionals, therapists and counselors are trained to evaluate your mental health and use appropriate techniques to help you reduce and manage your symptoms and learn more positive ways to live a healthy life.

A clinical social worker is trained to evaluate your mental health and use therapeutic techniques to guide you to better mental health. Social workers also typically provide advocacy services and case management.

Psychologists have earned a doctoral degree in clinical psychology or a specialty area of mental health, such as education or counseling. A psychologist can evaluate your mental health using testing, evaluations and interviews. They will diagnose mental illness and offer you the therapy you need to address it properly. Some psychologists are also trained in therapy interventions such as cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavior therapy.

Who Can Prescribe Medication?

Healthcare professionals who can also prescribe medications once a diagnosis is complete have been licensed as medical providers as well as mental health practitioners.

While your primary care physician can prescribe medication, you should consider consulting with a mental health professional who can diagnose a potential mental illness. Your primary care doctor will work with your mental health provider to determine the best treatment plan for your mental and physical health.

A mental health or psychiatric nurse practitioner can help with the assessment, diagnosis and therapy for substance use disorders as well as mental health conditions.

Psychiatrists are licensed medical doctors who have completed training in mental health. A psychiatrist can diagnose mental illness, and then prescribe medications to treat it. They can also provide therapy to help you understand more about the underlying issues of your mental health condition. They may also be trained in the treatment of substance use disorders.

Mental Health and Addiction Help in Tennessee

If you are experiencing a mental health issue, we can help. At our residential, long-term and outpatient treatment centers, Cumberland Heights provides the highest quality mental health care when you are dealing with mental illnesses, especially if you have a co-occurring substance use disorder. Our dedicated staff members will walk with you every step of the way on your journey to recovery, helping you to rewrite your story.

At Cumberland Heights, we’ve been changing lives since 1966. To learn more about our services, contact the Cumberland Heights admissions team.

Why is it so meaningful to give to Cumberland Heights?

Your gift to Cumberland Heights through our annual and capital initiates gives immediate support to patients and their families. To make a longer term impact a gift to the endowment fund will provide patient assistance funding for years to come.