Mental Status Examination

  • Brenna N. RennEmail author
  • Samantha E. John


The mental status examination (MSE) is a structured assessment of the clinically relevant areas of a client’s behavioral, emotional, and cognitive functioning. It includes descriptions of the client’s overall appearance, comportment, and behavior; it also describes a client’s thought and perceptual processes and content, emotional state, and cognitive abilities, including level of consciousness, orientation and attention, and insight. By coalescing these important domains, the MSE paints a picture of the client at a given point in time.


Mental status exam Observation Evaluation Interviewing 



Preparation of this chapter was supported by the National Institute of Mental Health (grant T32MH073553). The authors also thank Brittany Mosser, MSW, and Nova Rivera, MSW, MPH, for their thoughtful suggestions for this chapter.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  2. 2.Department of Neurology and Goizueta Alzheimer’s Disease Research CenterEmory University School of MedicineAtlantaUSA

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