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What to Expect When Seeing Your Psychiatrist for an Initial Mental Health Evaluation

Updated: 6 days ago

By Chelsea Neumann, MD | West Coast Integrative Mental Health Co-Founder & Psychiatrist

Getting Started with Psychiatrist Dr. Chelsea Neumann

Why do I need to have an initial mental health evaluation?

Seeing a psychiatrist for an initial mental health evaluation is the important first step to better understanding your symptoms and treatment options.

How long is the initial appointment?

Dr. Neumann’s evaluations with adults are scheduled for 60 minutes and evaluations with children and their families are 120 minutes. This may seem like a long time but the amount of information that will be discussed during these appointments helps her to understand your main concerns and overall health factors that will help guide her in providing treatment plans and recommendations.

What will be asked?

This is Dr. Neumann’s opportunity to understand your symptoms in detail, when they started, the severity of your symptoms, and your biological, psychological and social factors that may contribute to your presenting complaints. Dr. Neumann will review your past mental health history, past medication trials, medical history, social, family and academic history and your current life circumstances and experiences that you find pertinent. This part of the evaluation will also include discussions about substance use, safety concerns and any other factors you find pertinent to your health. Past assessments and treatments with mental health providers will be reviewed and providing your past medication trials and mental health treatment history in detail will help Dr. Neumann understand what has been helpful and not so helpful in the past.

Will I have some answers by the end of this appointment?

The most important component of mental health treatment is understanding your underlying symptoms. Having a clearly defined underlying diagnosis is important in developing an individualized treatment plan for you. Your diagnosis and treatment options will be discussed in detail so that you have a better understanding of the origins of your symptoms and the best evidence-based treatment options for addressing your symptoms.

Will I receive medication prescriptions right away?

The initial evaluation will provide a road map for further evaluation and treatment plans. Dr. Neumann provides treatment recommendations at the end of each evaluation which may include starting a new medication, changing current medications, and engaging in further evaluation which may include nutritional and metabolic labs, collaboration with your previous psychiatrist, primary care provider and therapist. If you have had multiple medication trials with poor outcomes (side effects or lack of effectiveness) then Genesight testing may be recommended to assess for metabolism or genetic factors that may contribute to difficulty finding medications that are helpful. Some individuals will not be recommended medications if their symptoms warrant alternative treatment options, which could include starting with psychotherapy, nutritional support and/or lifestyle changes.

What will a treatment agreement entail?

At the end of the initial appointment, you will discuss with Dr. Neumann if you would like to form a treatment agreement and continue working together to put this treatment plan in place. A treatment agreement is an important part of the therapeutic relationship you will have with Dr. Neumann, which includes making a plan for further 30-minute appointments, medication and nutritional plans, considering psychotherapy options, creating a safety plan and agreeing to contact Dr. Neumann with concerns between appointments if needed.

To schedule an initial mental health evaluation with Dr. Chelsea Neumann, please complete this consultation form.


Dr. Chelsea Neumann is an integrative psychiatrist in California who is double board-certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in General Psychiatry as well as Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. She specializes in the treatment of adolescents and young adults, and has experience working with people of all ages.

She is currently accepting new patients with in-person and virtual appointment availability. READ MORE


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