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Three out of four students at-risk for mental illness

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Adolescents at-risk for mental illness can and should be identified with routine mental health screening in high school according to a new study. Mental health officials can also recommend follow up care once those students have been recognized. This is according to findings in the largest school-based study conducted to date by the TeenScreen national Center for Mental Health Checkups at Columbia University.

Six public high schools in suburban Wisconsin participated in the study. Results found that nearly three out of four high school students identified as being at-risk for having a mental health problem – most were not in treatment at the time. These students were able to spend time with a mental health provider within three months of the screening. More than half received adequate treatments defined as having three or more visits with the provider, or whatever the provider recommended.

“It is gratifying to have further evidence that TeenScreen successfully connects at-risk adolescents with mental health care,” said Laurie Flynn, executive director. “The value of school-based screening is reinforced by this study and highlights TeenScreen’s unique ability to help teens whose mental health problems would otherwise go unidentified,” continued Leslie McGuire, deputy executive director and author of the research.

Students filled out a questionnaire and had a one-on-one screening. Those who tested positive were asked to stay for an interview and further evaluation.

Fifty percent of all mental health issues start in adolescence by age 14, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Depression can lead to academic failure, alcohol and drug use, promiscuous sex and suicide.

Source: MedicalNewsToday, TeenScreen

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