Troubled Teens Spotted in Routine School Screenings:
MONDAY, Aug. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Routine high school
mental-health screenings can successfully identify high-risk
students and help them receive needed care, according to a new
Screenings conducted over the course of five years at six
suburban public high schools in Wisconsin revealed that roughly 75
percent of the students considered at high risk for mental health
issues were not being treated.
The researchers, from the TeenScreen National Center for Mental
Health Checkups at Columbia University, said their findings should
lead to more teens getting help for untreated mental illnesses,
which can lead to school failure, drug or alcohol abuse, violence
"The value of school-based screening is reinforced by this study," said Leslie McGuire, TeenScreen's deputy executive director, in a Columbia news release. Screening in adolescence is important because 50 percent of long-term mental health disorders start by age 14, according to the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health.
Students participating in the study completed a computerized
questionnaire intended to detect depression, anxiety and other
mental health problems.
Following the screening, the students discussed their responses
in a one-on-one meeting. Those with positive scores on the
questionnaire were evaluated by a specially trained clinician and
referred for further counseling if needed.
The study, published in the September issue of the
Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent
Psychiatry, showed that of those students identified as high-risk, 76 percent had at least one visit with a mental health professional within 90 days after the school-based screening. Fifty-six percent of those deemed high-risk received "minimally adequate" treatment consisting of three or more sessions, the researchers said.
The American Academy of Pediatrics provides more information on
teen mental health.
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