In mental health the process of treatment begins with an assessment of a person's history and 'mental state', including past and present behaviour, mood, affect, thoughts and beliefs, perceptions and cognitive function. In gathering this clinical evidence, a practitioner also needs to know about the person's social context and support, home circumstances, employment and educational opportunities, past treatments and current treatment preferences, hopes and aspirations, both in terms of the person's life aims and in terms of how treatment might help them achieve those life goals. This is a complex and highly individual process leading to an equally individual treatment plan.