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Questions to ask about your mental health care

We have prepared these lists of questions as a guide for you to use.

They can help you get information about your:

  • diagnosis
  • assessment
  • care

Think about which questions are useful for you. Also think about any other questions that are not on these lists.

Before a diagnosis

  • If I do not have a diagnosis yet, what are the chances I will get one?
  • How long will it be before there is a diagnosis?
  • Are there different points of view about what I am experiencing?


  • What does my diagnosis mean in simple terms?
  • What are the main features of this diagnosis?
  • What do you know about the causes of my diagnosis?
  • What is likely to happen in the future?
  • Where can I get more information about this?


  • What assessments have you done?
  • What are the results of the assessments?
  • What happens next?
  • Will you need to do more assessments?

Care, treatment and recovery

  • What is the plan for treating my mental health problem?
  • What are the aims of the care, treatment and recovery plan?
  • What will my treatment cost?
  • Will I have a 'key worker'? Who will this be and what does this mean?
  • Who else will be involved in my care?
  • How often will appointments be made to see a member of the clinical team? Which member of the team will this be?
  • Are there waiting times or waiting lists for therapies?
  • When can I expect to see an improvement?
  • Would talking therapies (psychotherapy) be helpful? If so, is it available near me?
  • Are there any other therapies that might be helpful?
  • Are there alternative therapies available, if I am not comfortable with the care and treatment plan?

Getting help

  • Who do I contact if I’m worried about something?
  • How can I get in touch with you?
  • Who do I contact in an emergency?
  • If I’m admitted or detained involuntarily can I appeal that decision?


  • Will I be on medicine?
  • If I am on medicine, what medicine will I be on and why?
  • Will I have to pay for the medicine?
  • What should the benefits of this medicine be, short-term and long-term?
  • How will the benefits of the medicine be monitored?
  • What are the possible side effects of this medicine?
  • Is it safe to take this medicine if I get pregnant?
  • How long will I need to take this medicine?
  • How often will my medicine be reviewed?
  • Are there any other options that could be used if this medicine does not work?
  • What signs or symptoms might mean that the medicine should be changed?
  • What is likely to happen if I stop taking the medicine without discussing this with anyone?
  • Do you have any information about this medicine that I can take home?

Inpatient treatment

  • What happens if there is no bed available?
  • How long will I need to stay in hospital for?
  • What arrangements need to be in place for me to leave hospital?
  • If transport is difficult, can I be housed near family or friends?
  • Can any benefits be organised so they are there when I am discharged? For example, social welfare payments, medical card or disability allowance.
  • Who will help me to manage payments?

For concerned family or friends

  • Will we be involved in discussions about their recovery?
  • Will we be notified if they are at risk?
  • Who can we contact if we are concerned about risk?
  • What can we do to help?
  • Are there any local self-help or carers’ groups?
  • What other supports are available for us, as carers?
  • For inpatient care: How often can I see them? What are the visiting times? Is there a family room?
  • What happens if they won't accept certain types of treatment? Are there other options?
  • If it's not okay for them to return home, what other options are available in our area?
  • Who can advise us about other housing options?

If you are concerned about someone else, ask if they are happy for you to be involved in their care. You will need their permission before health professionals can share personal information with you. They have a right to confidentiality.

Family members may share information with mental health professionals. This is not a breach of confidentiality.

Page last reviewed: 1 September 2022
Next review due: 1 September 2025