Cover image for: Mental State Assessment
CPD1h 25m of CPD
Total Rating(s)187
First Published12 September 2017
Updated18 January 2019
Expires12 September 2020
Recorded InMelbourne, Australia

Course Overview

The Mental State Assessment (MSA) provides a structured way for health professionals to identify if a person’s mental state is deteriorating.

This Course focuses on the main parts of this assessment, the manner in which it can take place, and what can be done with the assessment findings.


  • Principles of the Mental State Assessment
  • Conducting the Mental State Assessment conversation
  • Risk assessment fundamentals


Undertaking a basic Mental State Assessment is essential to identify any risks to a person's safety, including a deteriorating mental state and/or posing risks to the safety of others.

The Mental State Assessment can be used to determine if immediate action is required or if assistance from a qualified mental health clinician will be necessary during, or following treatment for physical illness.

Education is, therefore, essential in ensuring all health professionals are confident in their knowledge of and approach towards conducting a mental state assessment if health outcomes are to be enhanced.


The purpose of this Course is to build your confidence of how to conduct a mental state assessment.

Learning Outcomes

  • Describe the key components of a Mental State Assessment and how they fit with physical assessment skills
  • Identify the terminology used in a Mental State Assessment
  • Identify what risks are likely being identified, and what to do if these risks increase
  • Explain the role of the Consult Liaison Psychiatry service and other mental health resources in facilitating assessment of the person with a suspected mental health disorder

Target Audience

This Course is relevant to all registered nurses and other health professionals working in a range of healthcare settings, but especially those working in mental health or who care for people with a mental health condition.


No conflict of interest exists for anyone in the position to control content for this activity. Wherever possible, generic or non-proprietary names of medications or products have been used.


Portrait of Karen-Ann Clarke
Karen-Ann Clarke

Dr Karen-Ann Clarke is a registered nurse and a specialised mental health nurse, with 30 years’ experience of working with individuals and families impacted by the experiences of mental illness. Using a feminist narrative methodology, her PhD research explored the way that women diagnosed with depression made decisions and meanings about receiving electroconvulsive therapy. As a lecturer in nursing at USC, Karen-Ann is responsible for the coordination of mental health curricula across multiple undergraduate and postgraduate programs. Teaching in excess of 900 undergraduate students each year, she is passionate about the value that immersive mental health simulation can bring to student’s learning and clinical skills, and the way that it can safely bring to life theoretical concepts related to mental health care. Karen-Ann currently supervises a number of honours, masters, and PhD students and is part of numerous research projects, involving visualisation and simulation, mental illness, suicide prevention, and the inclusion of people with lived experience of mental illness into the teaching and learning space.

Badge from the American Nurses Credentialing Center showing that Ausmed is an accredited provider with distinction

The Ausmed Education Learning Centre is accredited with distinction as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation. Provider number is P0342.

CPD1h 25m of CPD
Total Rating(s)187
First Published12 September 2017
Updated18 January 2019
Expires12 September 2020
Recorded InMelbourne, Australia
Topic Tags
Mental Health
Clinical Assessment
Learning Tools
Content Integrity

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Learner Reviews


187 Total Rating(s)

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Lisa Roberts
20 Aug 2019

Informative presentation, useful in the triaging of mental health callers.

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Catherine Scott
06 Aug 2019

Great information

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Sallyanne North
23 Jul 2019

Good content

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Jamie Timmons
21 Jul 2019

Pretty good

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Donna Flanagan
21 Jul 2019

Very good course to assist in performing a mental state assessment.

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McCauley Ghee
13 Jul 2019

Very well explained, I was quit interested with this training course, the presentor was well imformative of the MSA process and was orgainised quit well.

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Dean James Irwin
10 Jul 2019

Re-inforced best practice on assessing mental health patients and the importance of communication styles to best understand how the patient is feeling and what their major current problem is.

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Gabriella Raimondi
28 Jun 2019


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Caitlyn Ann Willems
27 Jun 2019

Extremely beneficial and informative.

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Trinity Flynn
14 Jun 2019

This was very helpful, especially for the examples of different lines of questioning to extract info in a non threatening way.