Mental health research faces a suite of unresolved challenges that have contributed to a stagnation of research efforts and treatment innovation. One such challenge is how to reliably and validly account for the subjective side of patient symptomatology, that is, the patient’s inner experiences or patient phenomenology. Providing a structured, standardised semantics for patient phenomenology would enable future research in novel directions. In this contribution, we aim at initiating a standardized approach to patient phenomenology by sketching a tentative formalisation within the framework of an applied ontology, in the broader context of existing open-source Open Biomedical Ontologies resources such as the Mental Functioning Ontology. We further discuss a number of prevailing challenges and observations bearing on this task.