How do online mental health assessments work?

24 February 2022

Has your child become more anxious recently? Or perhaps you’ve noticed changes in their mood that seem to be affecting their wellbeing? They could be among the one in six children and young people who need help with their mental health.

An in-person or online mental health assessment (also called a mental health evaluation) is a process by which a clinician gathers information about a child’s difficulties so they can work out why that child is suffering and what type of care they need to support their mental health. Traditionally, mental health assessments took place in a clinic. But in recent years, online mental health assessments have become increasingly popular.

Seeing your child struggle with their emotional wellbeing can be a worrying experience. And that stress is often exacerbated when you don’t know why your child’s behaviour or mood has changed. Booking a mental health assessment for your child is one of the most important steps you can take in supporting them to move forward, as it can help you better understand their needs and allow them to access the quality support they deserve.


Why might my child need a mental health assessment?


Your child might benefit from a mental health assessment if you’ve noticed some of the following:

  • Their mood or behaviour has changed significantly
  • They don’t want to do things they usually enjoy
  • They withdraw from social situations
  • They have problems sleeping
  • They worry excessively
  • They self-harm
  • Their appetite or weight has changed suddenly
  • They can’t concentrate

Some changes in your child’s mood or behaviour are normal. But when those changes last for a long period of time and are negatively impacting their wellbeing, it’s worth seeking expert help.


Accessing mental health assessments at Healios


Healios provides mental health assessments for children and young people aged between five and 25. We work in partnership with NHS services throughout the UK, including CAMHS and other services that refer children and young people for mental health, autism and ADHD support.

If Healios is available in your area, your local service may refer your child to us for an online mental health assessment. Once we receive that referral, we’ll be in touch to schedule a mental health assessment for your child.


What is an online mental health assessment?


Online mental health assessments (also called virtual mental health assessments) follow a similar structure to in-person assessments but take place on a video call rather than in a clinic.

At Healios, all assessments are carried out online by experienced clinicians using our digital platform, Panacea. With Panacea, you can chat with your child’s clinician via video, view session notes, manage appointments and ask family members to join sessions.

Online mental health assessments have a number of benefits. They can be attended from a space where your child feels comfortable, therefore the stress of travelling to and spending time in an unfamiliar place is avoided. Because our team includes more than 220 registered clinicians, we can provide quick access to assessments, with most children and young people being seen within two months of referral.


How do online mental health assessments work at Healios?


During your session:

Your clinician will start the session by introducing themselves and Healios and explaining how the assessment process works. Throughout your appointment, they’ll ask lots of questions so they can get a clear picture of what’s happening and figure out what type of support might benefit your child.

Some of their questions will be about your child’s recent mood or behaviour. For example, what’s changed? When did this issue first start? And how is it impacting your child and family? The clinician will also ask about your child’s past experiences, how they’re performing in school and the different stages of their development. As well as exploring your child’s issues, your clinician will want to hear about their strengths and any hobbies or activities they enjoy.

Your clinician will make time to speak to you and your child individually, as well as together. They’ll show images or slides on the screen to support your conversation. And they’ll listen to and answer any questions you might have.

After your session:

We’ll use the information gathered during your session to create a personalised report which will be shared with you and the service that referred your child. In this report, you’ll see next steps, some tools or apps that might be helpful, what to do if your child starts to feel worse and information on extra support that’s available in your area.

Where appropriate, we may recommend that your child receives additional therapeutic support, like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) or Goal Based Intervention (GBI). Depending on their needs, this could be with Healios or another service provider.

Booking a mental health assessment for your child can help you find the information and care your child needs to feel happier and healthier. Choosing to have that assessment online with Healios means your child can access expert support from a place they feel comfortable within weeks of referral.

Have a question about assessments at Healios? Check out our FAQ page or hit the “Contact us” button below. Our team will be happy to support you.

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