237975 Options for identifying students at high risk for mental health problems

Monday, October 31, 2011

Wendy Holt, MPP , DMA Health Strategies, Lexington, MA
The author will introduce a new SAMHSA guide, Identifying Mental Health and Substance Use Problems of Children and Youth: A Guide for Child-Serving Organizations that presents the principles for planning and implementing processes to identify children at high risk for these conditions. She will focus on the supplement for schools that discusses how these principles can be applied in schools.

Schools' options for meeting the needs of students at high risk for mental health and substance abuse problems range from low resource efforts such as including mental health or substance abuse screening in disciplinary reviews to more ambitious efforts, such as implementing a formal screening program. The prevention pyramid can help schools define goals for an identification initiative based on the types of students served and community concerns.

Schools have two basic options for identifying at risk students: training school personnel on signs of mental health problems or using validated screening tools administered to the student. Resources and well-tested implementation models of each option will be described. The considerations involved in selecting an appropriate screening tool will be discussed, and a short list of screening tools with well established validity and reliability will be provided. Implementation tasks will be discussed in the context of the school environment and its legal responsibilities.

Finally, the presenter will identify resources in the community that can be partners with schools to provide assessment and treatment for students who are identified with possible mental health problems.

Learning Areas:
Program planning
Provision of health care to the public

Learning Objectives:
• Describe different approaches schools can take to identify children at high risk for mental health problems • Explain a school’s responsibilities for respecting parent consent and safeguarding student confidentiality when gathering information to identify possible mental health problems • Identify relevant criteria for selecting a screening tool that is appropriate for a specified goal

Keywords: Screening, Child/Adolescent Mental Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the primary author of a guide to be published by SAMHSA, titled Identifying Mental Health and Substance Abuse Problems of Children and Adolescents, which summarizes key steps and principles in planning and implementing screening and other identification initiatives in a variety of child serving settings.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.