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    • Author:
      Sruthi Ramesh

    • July 28, 2020

    • 129

    Vivek’s catch-up call with his buddies at work finally materialized as the pandemic forced people indoors.

    He asked them – ‘How are you all coping with the pandemic?’

    Mahesh confessed – ‘First the pandemic, and then Sushant Singh Rajput’s suicide. For a week, I didn’t get proper sleep. During that time I found it ridiculous that on social media people were announcing their availability for friends to reach out to them if they were depressed!’

    Sathya chimed in – ‘I agree, this sudden flooding of mental health messages and self-assessment tests to check if you are depressed is ridiculous!’

    Vivek said – ‘Hey, isn’t it nice that everyone is thinking of the importance of mental health and even considering self-assessments? A decade ago, we would have ourselves not spoken about it, right?’

    Mahesh retorted – ‘That’s true. But wouldn’t you agree that the armchair counseling of friends and online self-assessment tests are no comparison for professional counseling either?’

    And so on, their debate continued.

    But their conversation helps us reflect on an important question. Is it wise to adopt self-assessments for examining one’s mental health? Let’s take a look.

    Self-Assessments for mental health

    Assessments are scientifically developed tools of evaluation and used extensively by practitioners in the field of mental health.

    Although many take up the free online self-assessments for mental health for fun, others who require mental health support, take it up expecting results. When those requiring mental health support expect online self-assessment resources to replace the impact of a counselor, it could lead to unintended consequences.

    As experienced psychologist Dr. Kannan Parthasarathy points out in KelpHR’s live session around counseling – “A mental health assessment gives your doctor a complete picture of your emotional state. They also look at how well you can think, reason, and remember (cognitive functioning). There are online self-assessments resources available on the internet. But first, check with the counselor and then do this. It is always better for the counselor to do the assessment first as these tools may create or increase negative feelings.”

    Viji Hari, Co-founder and CEO of KelpHR has aptly compared choosing self-assessments over visiting a counselor akin to ‘googling health symptoms versus consulting a doctor!’

    Here are the top 3 reasons as to why one must use online self-assessments only ‘after’ checking with a counselor:

    • Avoid triggers
      While many take up self-assessments for fun, those who are genuinely suffering from mental health issues may be at risk of being emotionally triggered by it. It would be better to reach out to a mental health professional who is adept at weighing-in on the key factors and trained to de-escalate, in a way that an online one-way resource cannot.
    • Lack of customized approach
      Online self-assessments are great resources, yet, they do not reach someone at their stage and situation in life, like how a therapist does.
    • One-way
      Mental health support for battling the self requires significant dialogue and being heard. A one-way online self-assessment will not be sufficient when one is genuinely battling mental health issues as it does not provide for these.

    Opening up meaningful dialogues with friends and undertaking online self-assessments around depression, is the rage at the moment. As useful as they are, there are compelling reasons to preface online self-assessments around mental health, by a visit to a professional counselor. It makes sense to follow the advice of top psychologists and allow a counselor to guide us through an appropriate assessment.

    Although self-assessment questionnaires are well designed, they are highly recommended in the hands of a trained professional. It may be naive to think that self-administering it will bring a change to a mammoth problem such as mental health.

    Today, the world needs colossal support in dealing with mental health issues and KelpHR is committed to helping with it.

    Should you need assistance with counseling for individuals or organizations, do visit kelphr.com or reach out to info@kelphr.com for more information.

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