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The mental state examination (MSE) is the assessment or observation of a patient's state of mind based on their attitude, mood and character. It involves a set of questions and specific observations that lead to understanding the patient's mental condition. Risk assessment involves determination of the risk that a patient presents for self-destruction, harm to others, possibility for violent behavior and suicidal ideation (Themes, 2010). A client may suffer certain conditions that require both mental status examination and risk assessment.   

People may bring to an interview various types of problems, which may include alcoholism, drug abuse, stress, inability of dealing with feelings or expressing them, desire ton improve relationship with family members, financial problems and inability to manage mental or social issues. In order for the interviewer to asses any of the above problems; he must employ the (MSE). This is done all the way through the standard progress of first interview. The patient's verbal and non-verbal behavior is analyzed.

One major concern that the interviewer will have while using these assessment is that a question may trigger certain behavior in the client. These most of the time are violent behaviors. Violent behavior can cause harm to the client or others.  The information given by a client may be incriminating and an interviewer may be in a dilemma whether to report to authorities or not.   

The interviewer may arrive at a conclusion after enquiring about the patient's level of consciousness and memory status (Hinkle & Polanski, 2000). The areas that the interviewer may analyze include appearance, behavior, mood, speech and attitude. Thorough investigation on these areas will uncover the urgency of such problems.

According to Saggese & Zaninetta, (2006) the generalization nature of the MSE is one of the obstacles to conducting a proper analysis. Since patients have particular problems that are normally unique and vary from one to another, makes the patients difficult to analyze especially if one is using the general approach MSE. Thus, the interviewer will meet challenges while conducting the assessments.

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