Mental State Assessment

1h 25m of CPD
Karen-Ann Clarke
12 Sep 2017

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.


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


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 in which women diagnosed with depression made decisions and meanings about receiving electroconvulsive therapy. As a lecturer in nursing at USC, Dr Clarke is responsible for the coordination of mental health curricula across multiple undergraduate and post-graduate 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. Dr Clarke 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.


Penelope McCann19 Oct 2018
Good presentation

Carley Monk10 Oct 2018
It was good, great general knowledge. Would like something more detailed looking into the MSE and interview process.

Elaine elizabeth bechaz11 Sep 2018
Fantastic resource.

Emma Kerr11 Sep 2018
interesting and engaging speaker.

Elyssa Wedd08 Sep 2018
This video learning activity was a great, informative one and has been very inspiring to watch. I certainly recommend it to any healthcare professional, who is wanting to find ways of improving their understanding of coping, caring and maintaining therapeutic relationships with their patients.

Jeffrey lapera27 Aug 2018
Great video

Jocelyn Davis25 Aug 2018
Excellent presentation

Jenna He21 Aug 2018
This is helpful to reflect my learning in Uni.

Nicole Stuart19 Aug 2018

Avelina Go Chow22 Jun 2018
Very relevant and important tools for all

Julie Sargeant14 Jun 2018
This was a good education session. I t gave useful and relevant information and helped me develop some skills that I need to conduct a comprehensive MSA. It also helped me get past the basic information-gathering and directed me to several resources to assist me obtain the best outcome for my patient.

carin newman05 Jun 2018
Very engaging and skilled in this area of health.

Sarah J Finlayson31 May 2018
This educator is fabulous as always; material is informative & easy to follow; she is well spoken & very knowledgeable. A great asset to the mental health nursing workforce!

Bona marie miranda 27 May 2018
Well explained

Harmeet Kaur26 May 2018
Very vital information

Nomalanga moyo25 May 2018
The topic had lots of good strategies and helpful hints that l will use at my work

Jonathan Wood25 May 2018
Really helpful at filling in my knowledge gaps and has empowered me.

Anna Medley22 May 2018
Dynamic course content.Wonderful Lecturer.Thank you.

Kristene Anne Rice22 May 2018
I really enjoyed this topic. Well presented and easily understood.

Lauren Bradshaw21 May 2018
Very good.

Louise Morosi20 May 2018
An engaging and useful tool.

Denise Whittaker18 May 2018
The educator was very engaging .

Mi Park18 May 2018
very useful. thank you.

Divina Evangelista14 May 2018
The educator was knowledgeable and engaging. I would recommend this education to other health professionals.

Carmel Green10 May 2018
I found Karen's VLA to be concise, well rounded, helpful, reinforcing and this has helped me to feel more confident that I'm on the right track in my management of mental health issues at work.

Ellie Alizadeh09 May 2018
Very useful

APEL MAHMUD06 May 2018
Essential and informative session

Elaine Adams02 May 2018
excellent VLA

Gurnam Singh Saini02 May 2018
very good course.

Amanpreet Kaur25 Apr 2018
good knowledge

Brie Brown14 Apr 2018
Good education for forensic nurses.

Trisha Eisenhuth12 Apr 2018
Good resource

Sheena Jarvis09 Apr 2018
Very engaging, lots of useful information expectial how to conduct a conversation that is non threatening and getting the information you need at the same time.

Cindy Barkhuizen08 Apr 2018

Udo Hoffmann01 Apr 2018
This was an excellent presentation; easy to follow and learn.

Terry Dunne31 Mar 2018
excellent presentation

Chino Boque06 Mar 2018
Very educative.

Susan Manning01 Mar 2018
Very comprehensive and practical.

Eva Bodnar19 Feb 2018
Very important to identify the stage of mentally ill patient and how to get help

Timothy Kent15 Feb 2018
I was most impressed by the presentation and content, as well as the use of evidenced based approaches to mental health assessment and those of risk

Kathleen Ryan11 Feb 2018
Excellent session - easy to understand and give more clarity around a mental state exam. Reduces staff anxiety around openly discussing a client's feelings, behavior and overall mental health as part of holistic health care.

Kym Tyler09 Feb 2018
Great Educational resource.

Christine Hulands08 Feb 2018
I found this lecture very helpful and highly recommend it.

Gemma Dale05 Feb 2018
This educator was very clear and structured providing very practical examples of how to apply the knowledge she was teaching

Ann Trebilcock05 Feb 2018
The information was informative and helpful.

Hemaltha piyaratna03 Feb 2018
Excellent VLA. Would recommend for any nurses.

Charysse Gosney03 Feb 2018
This VLA is a valuable stepping off point for those nurses who have had no formal education and , thus are not credentialled. These very basic skills will enhance practice and ensure more meaningful conversations and processing of information.

Jane Bailey03 Feb 2018
All general nurses would benefit from this.

daniel kan02 Feb 2018

Sarah Goddard01 Feb 2018
go way to be reacquainted with my skill

Anita Thanawala01 Feb 2018
In depth information but really good for nurses. I highly recommended others to review this material.

Lourdes Ingebrigtsen01 Feb 2018
The educators was very thorough in her discussions of the topic. I covered all the relevant aspects of MSA.

Anne Hood31 Jan 2018
Excellent presentation I learnt a lot

Catherine Fitzgerald 20 Jan 2018
very interesting and full of practical information.

Janine Bird Roberts26 Nov 2017
I found this resource made the subject easy to understand and to put into practice.

Course Overview

Topics include:

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

Target audience

All health professionals working in a range of healthcare settings, but especially those working in mental health, primary practice, community health, or critical care.


Further develop skills in assessing a person’s mental state, regardless of where the person is cared for in the healthcare setting.


One in five people experience symptoms of a mental health disorder at some point in their life, so it is not uncommon for healthcare professionals to care for people experiencing mental health disorders who may also require treatment for a physical illness within a general hospital or community health setting. Healthcare professionals working in these settings therefore need to be able to undertake a basic Mental State Assessment in order to identify any risks to a person's safety (e.g. 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.

Health professionals in Australia that are registered with AHPRA are required to obtain continuing professional development (CPD) hours/points each year that relates to their context of practice, in order to comply with mandatory regulatory requirements.