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Mental Health

Why You Should Consider Taking a Mental Health Assessment

Symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress are common negative emotions. Many people experience one or more of these symptoms on a frequent basis but are usually able to regulate their emotions quite easily.

Problems arise when these symptoms persist and are left unchecked over a long period of time as they can develop into chronic health conditions like generalized anxiety disorder, major depressive disorder, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and more.

Mental health assessments are one quick way to check in with your emotions in order to get a gauge of your risk factors. But not all online mental health assessments are created equal. For example, any online mental health assessment that purports to diagnose a condition is a massive red flag. To this day, there is no online mental health assessment that can do that. Only a qualified mental health professional can diagnose a condition. 

In its own mental health assessment, Naluri utilises the Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale (DASS-21). This is a credible and widely accepted self-reported assessment designed to help determine risk factors for depression, anxiety, and stress.

What is DASS-21?

DASS-21 is a standardised assessment consisting of 21 simple and easy-to-interpret statements; for example, “I find it hard to wind down”, or “I found myself getting upset by quite trivial things.” 

You are asked to use a four-point severity or frequency scale to judge the extent to which you have experienced the three common negative emotional states of depression, anxiety, and stress over the past week.

  • The depression scale assesses dysphoria, hopelessness, devaluation of life, self-deprecation, lack of interest/involvement, anhedonia (the inability to feel pleasure), and inertia. 

  • The anxiety scale assesses autonomic arousal, skeletal muscle effects, situational anxiety, and subjective experience of anxious affect. 

  • The stress scale is sensitive to levels of chronic non-specific arousal. It assesses difficulty relaxing, nervous arousal, and being easily upset/agitated, irritable/over-reactive and impatient.

Each of these negative emotional states is represented by seven statements that require your input. At the end of the test, you will receive a risk severity rating. Naluri assesses your score with a risk rating of either Low, Mild, Moderate, or High.

Besides providing you with a better understanding of your immediate emotional state, it also meets the needs of both researchers and clinicians who measure emotional changes over time (e.g. in the course of treatment).

Can DASS-21 diagnose my mental health condition?

No, DASS-21 is a screening tool, not a diagnostic tool. In fact, no online assessment is able to diagnose a mental health condition or help you uncover possible underlying causes of your negative emotions. Only a mental health professional trained in providing a diagnosis and talk therapy can be relied on for this.

Instead, high scores on this mental health assessment are an indicator of poor quality of life and emotional disturbances, for which you are encouraged to reach out for additional support.

Why should I take a mental health assessment if it cannot provide me with a diagnosis?

An online mental health assessment can help you articulate emotions better, a crucial first step in processing them.

Because mental and physical health is inextricably linked, being able to understand your emotional state and its risk factors can help to maintain your physical health as well.

For example, prolonged stress is a known and direct cause of chronic conditions like diabetes, cancer, and obesity. Depression can lead to debilitating physical symptoms such as fatigue, digestive issues, headaches, back pain, and muscle stiffness. And anxiety can cause heart palpitations, insomnia, and excessive sweating which can lead to cardiovascular problems.

Mental health assessments like DASS-21 help you keep track of mood fluctuations over a period of time — typically no more than seven to 14 days. Your results can indicate a need to take action to self-regulate or seek help.

Does this mean I will need to assess my mental health regularly?

Like periodically checking your physical health, regular mental health check-ins are encouraged to help you understand how you are actually being affected by your emotions and to keep track of fluctuations in your mental health over time.

Where can I access a trusted mental health assessment? Do I have to pay for it?

The Naluri mental health assessment, an iteration of DASS-21, is available to anyone for free and takes less than five minutes to complete. Your results are made available to you immediately and are kept strictly anonymous and confidential. You can access the Naluri mental health assessment here.

If you find value in completing the Naluri mental health assessment, we invite you to share it with your friends and family to encourage them to keep track of their own mental well-being. Using the assessment is also an excellent way of stimulating conversation around mental health, and de-stigmatising help-seeking.

Naluri can help you build resilience and improve health by building new habits. The Naluri app connects you to a team of health coaches including fitness coaches, dietitians, and medical advisors led by a clinical psychologist. Take the mental health assessment to get started with Naluri and become your healthiest and best self yet.

Written by:
Chloe Pharamond