Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Mental Health Screening Connects High Schoolers With Help

Three out of four ninth-grade students identified as being at risk for mental health problems were connected with school- or community-based services in a study published in the September  Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

A total of 4,500 students were offered the TeenScreen Mental Health Checkup between 2005 and 2009 and about 2,500 accepted, wrote Mathilde Husky, Ph.D., an assistant professor of clinical psychology in psychiatry at Columbia University, and colleagues. They found that about 20 percent were “at risk” for mental health problems and 74 percent of those students were not receiving treatment. After the at-risk students were referred to school- or community-based services, 76 percent completed at least one visit with a clinician within 90 days, but students were more likely to connect with school-based services than those in the community.

The study shows the value of routine mental health screening and connecting those teens with follow-up care, although getting students into community care may require more coordination, said the authors.

For more about the TeenScreen program, see Psychiatric News at 


To read more about child and adolescent mental health, see the upcoming revision of American Psychiatric Publishing's Concise Guide to Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, by Mina Dulcan, M.D., and MaryBeth Lake, M.D. at www.appi.org/SearchCenter/Pages/SearchDetail.aspx?ItemId=62416#.

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