Mental Health Evaluation 7 Key Facts for Veterans
By Elizabeth Crain
A you prepare to submit a claim for VA disability, you may be asked to attend a mental health evaluation.
But what is a mental health evaluation, and do you need one before you submit your VA claim?
This post will look at 7 key facts to guide you through the process of your mental health evaluation, leaving you feeling confident as you walk into your appointment.
#1 What is a Mental Health Evaluation?
A mental health evaluation is essential in helping identify specific disorders that could result in a VA disability rating. A licensed professional conducts the evaluation and allows you to discuss your condition.
Afterward, the VA will determine which diagnosed mental health condition relates to your claim. VA disability ratings range from 0-100% for mental health conditions, with most veterans falling into the 30-70% category.
While you can only be rated for one mental health condition, the VA will review your medical records to understand how your mental health conditions affect your social and industrial functioning.
For example, if you suffer from PTSD and depression from your military service, you will receive the highest rating based on how the condition affects your life. So, if you receive a 70% rating for PTSD and a 50% for depression, you will be awarded a 70% disability rating.
Generally, a mental health evaluation lets the VA know more about your condition and how it impacts your daily life.
While it can be uncomfortable to discuss personal information, like your mental health, it’s essential to be open, so you can receive the benefits and compensation you deserve.
#2 Why Do I Need a Mental Health Evaluation?
If you are seeking a VA disability rating for a mental health disorder, you’ll likely be required to have a mental health evaluation. A mental health eval helps the VA understand the severity of your condition and how it affects your daily life.
In addition, a mental health evaluation helps determine which condition you will be rated for. The VA refers to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM IV or DSM 5) when assigning appropriate evaluations using the Mental Disorder Criteria in the VA Schedule for Rating Disabilities.
A mental health evaluation can help with early detection and intervention for your condition and allow you access to mental health care services, which can greatly improve your quality of life.
If you require mental health services immediately, you can connect with a Veteran Crisis Line responder any time of the day by:
- Calling 988
- Texting 838255
- Starting a confidential chat
#3 Can I Get a Mental Health Evaluation Near Me?
Most likely, yes! If you currently see a primary care physician, they can help you make an appointment with a VA mental health provider close to your home.
You can also connect with VA mental health providers through the VA telemental health program, allowing you to chat with someone from your computer or mobile device.
If you don’t currently use VA medical services, you can find the nearest VA medical center or Vet center to schedule an appointment.
Sometimes getting an appointment with the VA is challenging, but we can help. Telemedica offers mental health exams with our team of licensed and professional providers who will perform one of the following:
- One-time mental health assessment that can include a diagnosis, or
- Comprehensive, evidence-based medical examination
All you have to provide is your DD214 and benefits summary, but we also recommend providing personal statements, buddy letters, and medical records to help support your claim.
#4 What is a Mental Health Evaluation Like?
The idea of a mental health evaluation may seem intimidating, but remember, the professional on the other side is there to help. Generally, the evaluation will begin with discussing your current symptoms and any family history of mental health conditions.
You don’t have to do anything to prepare for your mental health evaluation; instead, take time for self-care on the day of your exam to help clear your head.
However, remember to be honest during your evaluation and be open about your problems. The clearer picture you present, the greater your chance of winning your claim.
#5 What Questions Are Asked During a Mental Health Evaluation?
Every mental health evaluation is different because every veteran is different. However, common questions are asked, which can help you prepare for your exam.
Examples of questions you might be asked during your VA mental health evaluation include:
- What are your symptoms?
- Was there a specific event in your military service that brought on your symptoms?
- How often do your symptoms affect your daily life?
- How long do your symptoms last?
- Are you taking medication for your condition?
It’s a good idea to keep a diary in the weeks leading up to your mental health evaluation so you don’t forget anything at your appointment. You can also talk to a close friend or family member about their thoughts on your condition and see it from their perspective.
Finally, try to avoid answering with a yes or no, and instead, explain your answers and thoroughly provide information about your condition and symptoms. However, it’s always important to never exaggerate your symptoms during a mental health evaluation.
#6 How Long Does a Mental Health Evaluation Take?
While there is no set time for a mental health evaluation, you can expect to be there for about 1-2 hours. The time varies from one person to the next because everyone has different needs and conditions.
Generally, a mental health evaluation with Telemedica takes about an hour, but you can request extra time if needed. Our licensed professionals want you to feel as comfortable as possible, so don’t hesitate to ask for additional time.
If you received a mental health evaluation from the VA and didn’t feel like you were given adequate time, you should report your concern to the VA.
#7 How Much is a Mental Health Evaluation?
While you don’t typically have to pay for a mental health evaluation through the VA, you may incur expenses associated with travel. However, the VA provides specific services for free related to mental health, like readjustment counseling and a registry health exam.
Interested in receiving a mental health evaluation through Telemedica? You can check our prices online and book an appointment today.
Need Additional Assistance With Your Mental Health Evaluation?
Our team of licensed professionals is standing by at Telemedica to help with your mental health evaluation. We understand the importance of getting the benefits and compensation you deserve, and we can help with your journey to success. You can contact us today to see how we can help you!