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A psychological evaluation (in the vernacular, psych eval) or mental examination is an examination into a person's mental health by a mental health professional such as a psychologist. A psychological evaluation may result in a diagnosis of a mental illness. It is the mental equivalent of physical examination.
Psychological assessment may come in two forms: formal and informal. Formal assessment involves the use of tools such as questionnaires, checklists and rating scales, while in informal assessment the interview/evaluation usually lacks such structure or organization. The psychologist or related licensed professional will sometimes start by asking questions of the person being evaluated, but not always. In psychological evaluations the administration of standardized psychological tests either by a psychologist, or by someone the psychologist supervises, are often a component of the evaluation.
Situations requiring psychological evaluations 
Applicants to sensitive jobs, such as jobs in intelligence or other jobs handling state secrets, may be required to submit to a psychological evaluation before they can be employed, although usually a background check is much more important.
Courts may order a competency evaluation of a defendant to determine competency to stand trial. An insanity defense will also usually require the defendant to undergo a psychological evaluation.
Courts presiding over child custody conflicts may appoint a psychological evaluator to explore the personalities and behaviors of a child's parents, and to render an opinion about circumstances necessary to provide for a child's best interests.
See also 
Further reading 
- Anastasi, Anne; Urbina, Susana (1997). Psychological Testing (Seventh ed.). Upper Saddle River (NJ): Prentice Hall. ISBN 978-0-02-303085-7. Lay summary (28 July 2010).
- Goldstein, Gerald; Beers, Susan, eds. (2004). Comprehensive Handbook of Psychological Assessment: Volume I: Intellectual and Neurological Assessment. Hoboken (NJ): John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-0-471-41611-1. Lay summary (23 November 2010).
- Gregory, Robert J. (2011). Psychological Testing: History, Principles, and Applications (Sixth ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon. ISBN 978-0-205-78214-7. Lay summary (7 November 2010).
- Groth-Marnat, Gary (2009). Handbook of Psychological Assessment (Fifth ed.). Hoboken (NJ): Wiley. ISBN 978-0-470-08358-1. Lay summary (11 September 2010).
- Hogan, Thomas P.; Brooke Cannon (2007). Psychological Testing: A Practical Introduction (Second ed.). Hoboken (NJ): John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-0-471-73807-7. Lay summary (21 November 2010).
- ^ Barker, P. ed. 2003. Psychiatric and mental health nursing: the craft and caring. London: Arnold. pp61.