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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 62 (2020) 2, 114 - 120


The use and appreciation of the mental status examination in the Netherlands

M.P. Rietveld, J.G. Lijmer, H.L. Van

background The mental status examination (mse) is part of everyday psychiatric practice. However, it is unknown which items of the mse are considered important and how the mse is appreciated in the Netherlands.
aim To gain insight in the importance of the mse, and to investigate which items are used in everyday practice.
method Dutch psychiatrists and residents filled in a questionnaire, using a 5-point Likert scale, where they rated frequency of use and importance of 24 different items of the Dutch mse. They also reported which items, in their opinion, should be rated ‘always’, ‘on indication only’ or ‘never’. Finally, the respondents were asked about their need of education and training in the mse. The data were collected through an online questionnaire, which was distributed through email and the website of the Dutch psychiatric association.
results A total of 402 respondents filled in the questionnaire, of which 60.4% were psychiatrists and 39.6% were residents. The mse was seen as an essential part of the everyday psychiatric practice. The current format was appreciated strongly. In current practice, 10 items of the mse were ‘always’ rated by more than 50% of the respondents. Ten items were rated very rarely, if ever. Respondents thought these items should only be rated on specific indication. There was a need for extra training in the mse amongst residents and psychiatrists.
conclusion The Dutch mse, consisting of 24 items, is strongly appreciated by psychiatrists and residents as an essential part of the psychiatric diagnostic process. In the everyday practice only a part of the items are used frequently.

keywords diagnostics, mental status examination, psychiatric evaluation