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School Ment Health. 2010 Dec;2(4):166-176. Epub 2010 Apr 27.

School-Based Screening: A Population-Based Approach to Inform and Monitor Children's Mental Health Needs.


School-based mental health professionals often conduct assessments and provide interventions on an individual basis to students with significant needs. However, due to increasingly limited resources and continuing high levels of need, a shift in service delivery is warranted. Efforts to move school psychological services from reactive and individual, to preventive and universal are ongoing. To further service delivery change, school-based mental health professionals can engage in systematic periodic mental health screening of all children. This article will (a) discuss screening for risk of emotional and behavior problems from a population-based approach, (b) describe how screening data can identify and monitor the needs of students, schools, and communities, and (c) provide future directions for screening practices. As continued changes to service delivery are imminent, information on how to utilize school-based screening data will be particularly valuable to mental health professionals working with or within schools.

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