Items on a mental state examination include observations of the person's behavior, appearance, mood and effect. Speech cognition, thoughts, perception, and insight and judgement assessments are also on a mental state examination, notes Healthline.
A mental status exam is instrumental in understanding a person's functioning level and in finding a diagnosis. The tester asks the person direct questions or watches the person's actions, according to PsychPage. The tester also observes and evaluates appearance, basic grooming and hygiene.
Gait and motor coordination are under observation during the exam as well. The tester notes behavioral approach, mannerisms, eye contact and speech, in addition to recording thinking processes such as grandiosity, delusions and obsessions, explains PsychPage.