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Screening helps African-American students connect with school-based mental health services
Date:6/14/2011

NEW YORK Mental health screening has been demonstrated to successfully connect African-American middle school students from a predominantly low-income area with school-based mental health services, according to results of a new study led by the TeenScreen National Center for Mental Health Checkups at Columbia University. The study was published in a recent online early edition of the Community Mental Health Journal.

Previous research has demonstrated substantial disparities in access to specialized mental health services between African-American and white youth; data has shown that African-Americans are consistently less likely than their white counterparts to receive inpatient or outpatient mental health treatment. In addition, other studies have shown that youth from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds are particularly vulnerable to the leading risk of untreated mental illness: suicide and suicide attempts.

"These findings reinforce that screening helps identify adolescents from different regions and backgrounds from across the country who are at-risk for depression, anxiety or another mental illness, and connect them with appropriate mental health services," said Laurie Flynn, TeenScreen's executive director. "Seventy to 80 percent of teens with mental illness do not get identified or treated. TeenScreen is working to reverse this disturbing trend by making mental health screening a routine part of adolescent care for all of our nation's adolescents. Early identification and intervention can make a tremendous difference in the present and future life of an adolescent and his/her family."

"The results of this study indicate that screening can help overcome barriers to mental health care among African-American youth" said Leslie McGuire, MSW, TeenScreen's deputy executive director. "This is critical not only for African American youth but for all youth in need of mental health care since we know that 50 percent of th
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Contact: Elizabeth Streich
streich@childpsych.columbia.edu
212-265-3174
TeenScreen National Center for Mental Health Checkups at Columbia University
Source:Eurekalert

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