Mental Health Self-Assessment Part 1: Vocabulary

Words have always been an important way to tackle the topic of mental health, but sometimes it’s difficult to turn the lens directly on us. The words we use to describe our own mental health, our own personality even, are extremely important. They impact how we view ourselves and the world around us, and which impact the choices we make and things that we do. But in order to improve our mental health vocabulary, we must be aware of how what we’re currently doing, which is where the Mental Health Self-Assessment comes in. Welcome to Part One of this post – Vocabulary.

Before I jump in, let me just say that a mental health self-assessment isn’t as complicated as it sounds. While the term ‘self-assessment’ is often used in school or the workplace, I thought it would also be interesting to use a similar approach for mental health. A self-assessment is when someone looks at their skills and qualities to see what they excel at and what can be improved on. (Sidenote: if you have a feeling that this may be too taxing or will only serve as a reminder of pervasive negative thoughts, don’t feel obliged to do this. You know yourself better than I do!)

What is a Mental Health Self-Assessment?

Generally speaking, self-assessments help someone get to know themselves better and shine light on certain aspects of a person. That’s what a mental health self-assessment would do – and we can tailor this approach specially to our vocabulary. There are many ways to conduct a self-assessment, but my suggestion is that when you do so, have a notepad (or your Notes app) on hand for a few days. Try your best to listen in and write down some of what you say. There is no need to filter yourself, or act as if you’re being tested – be yourself! But see if you can notice a pattern.

How to Self-Assess

When it comes to a self-assessment of your mental health vocabulary, try to be aware of how you’re discussing things involving your mental health, and what language you use. Are you using the same words over and over? Do you downplay situations involving your mental health? Is your language trivializing your mental health, or is it amplifying your needs? I had a friend who did not realize how often he called himself ‘mentally ill’ as a putdown – when he realized, he worked hard to erase that particular phrase from his vocabulary.

One Step at a Time

The changes may be small or incremental at first, but raising your self-awareness is a big first step to this shift. How can you change your mindset or attitude toward mental health if you don’t know what it is to begin with? Self-assessments can be helpful for people who might be dealing with mental health issues but don’t realize it, and teach them a little more about themselves. If you take part in one, let me know how it goes! We’re always stronger together, and knowing ourselves plays a big part in that.

Have you ever taken a “self-assessment”? How did it go? Do you think these self-assessments can be helpful when it comes to mental health? Let me know in the comments!

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