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

ose who are referred to mental health care don't even make it to their first appointment. Our results show that more than 85 percent of youth referred as a result of screening accessed mental health services. The purpose of our work at TeenScreen is to get at-risk youth the help they need. These results validate the effectiveness of our efforts and the impact they can have on the lives of vulnerable adolescents."

Students in the Study were Screened with an Evidence-Based Questionnaire Provided by TeenScreen

The study was a retrospective record review of 796 African-American and white students from grades six through eight who were attending 13 public schools in two school districts in a small city in Louisiana.

Students were screened using an evidence-based questionnaire provided by TeenScreen: the Columbia Health Screen (CHS), a 14-item self-report questionnaire, which assesses mental health problems across six domains: depression, anxiety, irritability, social withdrawal, substance use and suicidality. After the screening, students with a positive screen (meaning that their screening indicated signs of depression or anxiety, suicidal ideation and behavior, or substance abuse, etc.) were referred for a clinical interview by a trained master's level clinician at the school. If the clinician determined that further intervention was appropriate, they would refer the student to either school-based or community-based services.

Study results showed that African-American middle school students were significantly more likely than white middle school students to consent to participate in voluntary mental health screening and to access school-based mental health services. Referrals were made to school-based services for 104 students (71.7 percent). African-American students accessed recommended school-based services at a significantly greater rate than white students (93.4 percent versus 76.2 percent).

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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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