Youth depression & mental health: how can schools make a meaningful difference?

We’ve all seen the stats. And they are increasingly alarming. According to a recent JAMA study: major depressive disorder in teens has nearly doubled in the past decade. A situation made so much worse by the pandemic, that the surgeon general just issued a rare public advisory on the “devastating” mental health effects young people are experiencing.  So, how can we bring screening to youth where they spend the majority of their time – in schools?

We believe that school-wide screening offers the ideal time to not only identify risks, but to intervene – and the data supports it. According to the same JAMA study: Adolescents receiving universal depression screening vs. the usual process of targeted student referral had significantly higher odds both of being identified with symptoms (5.9 times higher) and of initiating treatment (2.1 times higher).

We know school-wide screening has challenges, but the Rapid Adolescent Prevention Screening (RAAPS) has been successfully used by schools for risk identification and reduction for almost a decade. RAAPS was created specifically to overcome challenges faced by professionals working with youth in school settings:

  • Completed in 5 minutes, RAAPS short-format screening is validated as effective in identifying depression and mental health issues in youth
  • Brief, automatically tailored health information & national resources are provided upon survey completion to ensure at risk youth receive interventions – without requiring expertise or adding burden to school support staff
    • Resources can also be customized by state, region, or community
  • RAAPS support materials and best-practice protocols make it easy to communicate with parents and manage the administration of school-wide screening

But most importantly, RAAPS delivers outcomes! Data that can drive decision making and individualized interventions that save lives.  As one administrator shared: “A Guidance Counselor had been working with a student for quite some time. [Through a school-wide screening] the student flagged for suicidal ideation on RAAPS. When the Guidance Counselor inquired why she didn’t tell anyone the student answered, ‘No one ever asked me the question”

Click here to schedule a call with one of our team members to learn more about School-wide Screening with RAAPS and start making a difference today!  

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