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Real time assessment

Many mental disorders have a significant affective (mood) component. Mood is subject to change, and can often change quickly. One way in which you can ensure you operate safely is to conduct a real-time assessment of a consumer's mental state while you work with them. This assessment should incorporate several key areas, including the client's:

- physical appearance

- mood/affect

- speech

- cognition

- content of expressed thought


The assessment of an individual's current mental state is crucial every time you engage with a consumer. Knowledge of a consumer's baseline mental state and mood is important as this will help you to more accurately assess change.


Below you will find an encounter between you (exercise physiology student on a mental health placement) and Tiahleigh. Read the information and answer the questions below.


























Q. What would you note about Tiahleigh in a real-time assessment? There are some prompts to guide you below.


- Physical appearance:

- Mood/affect:

- Speech:

- Cognition:

- Content of expressed thought:



Q. How would you respond in this situation?



You are preparing for an upcoming gym group when you receive a call from reception that Tiahleigh has arrived two hours early.


As you greet Tiahleigh in reception, you notice her hair appears unwashed and unbrushed, her clothing is disheveled and she is malodourous. She expresses flight of ideas and she appears euphoric. She is speaking over the top of you and is intrusive of your personal space.

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