Thursday, April 10, 2014

Mental Health Evaluation Form

I surprised myself earlier today with my response to the following episode. I had to go to the health clinic -- this clinic is owned by (though they contract out) and a part of the institution where I'm employed. When I checked in at the front desk I was handed a form that asked questions having to do with my emotional and psychological state. I'm paraphrasing here but the questions, maybe about two dozen of them (maybe less) were along the lines of:
1. Have you had trouble sleeping?
2. Has your enjoyment of activities decreased in the past two months?
3. Have you had thoughts of suicide or self-harm in the past six months?
and so on in regards to depression, stress, bad dreams, thoughts of suicide, etc. Without thinking about it I said "This is quite a form, it's a bit odd" and the woman very nicely explained everyone gets the form, it's standard, no one sees it, etc. I said I understood all that but it still seemed odd and I wasn't going to fill it out. Later the doctor said she understood that and I was under no obligation to fill it out; the staff was not defensive or pushy in any way. They all explained very patiently that "no one will see this form," and "everyone gets this to fill out," and "it's done once a year," but my issue is: why? If I'm going in for a routine female related exam (pap, what have you) why in the world do I need to fill out a form about mental health? But I did think the whole thing odd -- if I do feel those things, in need of counseling etc. then of course I'll pursue that but to fill out a form like that "just because" seemed, well, odd.


  1. I really enjoy your posts. The form you filled out is emblematic of the sad state of healthcare. Gone are the days when the physician acts as the patient advocate. The autodidactic, critical thinking and above all independent physician has been replaced by the fearful follower of those who write the 'best practices' and thus create the 'standard of care'. With more and more physicians practicing as employees this will only worsen and with it any chance of getting individualized care devoid of industry influence. The form is presumably intended to screen for depression but it would not surprise me if the form was supplied by one of the drug reps that peddle 'antidepressants' to your doctors office. They certainly leave those forms when they come to mine.

  2. Thank you Keven. I couldn't help being suspicious as well; I get that it's standard and "everyone" gets one to fill out, etc but no one seemed to think it odd, or to ask the whys of a thing?

    1. In regards to no one finding it odd I can only offer the painful observation that the bread and circuses continue to contain the thinking of the masses despite the game being so old that we should know better. Are you aware that the drug reps can query a database in order to see what individual doctors prescribe and that their income is directly linked to the prescribing habits of the doctors in their territory? Amazing how a routine visit can open a can of worms that lays the entire sickness industry in the plain light of day. Sadly apathy and ignorance prevail.