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Universal Mental Health Screening in Local Middle Schools

Lidia Harding
Agency news Blog
Mental Health Screening

This fall, YES and our school district partners will introduce a universal screening for mental health and substance use risk factors in local middle school students.

The research-based program is called SBIRT, or Screening Brief Intervention and Referral to Services.

Depending on the school district, a student may participate in the screening in 6th or 8th grade. For about 10 minutes, they will interact with a research-based, a teen-friendly survey that helps YES and school staff identify students who might be at risk for, or currently experiencing, a behavioral health concern.

Our Chief Operating Officer, David Downing believes “this screening will help us identify the kids who we might not otherwise see need help, especially the kids who otherwise ‘look’ fine.”

Whether a student is identified as needing a low-grade intervention, like being matched to a YES SUCCESS Mentor, or to be immediately referred to counseling services, YES will be integrated into the screening teams to ensure that students and their families can have a positive experience accessing care.

Recently, The Seattle Times reported how King County is responding to concerns over the intensity of the mental health needs of our local youth. Through funding for Best Start for Kids, YES will help provide screening to more local middle schools.

A few months ago, NPR reported how the American Academy of Pediatrics issued updated guidelines that call for universal screening for depression in youth. YES wants to lead the way in providing this critical service to our youth.

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