What is TeenScreen?

The TeenScreen Program is a tool created by Columbia University to screen for risk factors associated with depression and other mental illnesses but does not make a formal diagnosis.  Parents of youth found to be at possible risk are notified and assisted in identifying and connecting to local mental health services.

Through a recent agreement with Columbia University, Stanford’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences has been given access and shared rights to the screening tool and other components of the Columbia TeenScreen program. Read more about Stanford’s Community partnerships here: Stanford Dept. of Psychiatry

 Why use TeenScreen?

  • About 11% of teens have a depressive disorder by age 18.
  • Suicide is the third leading cause of death for 15-19 year olds and outnumbers those from all other physical diseases combined.
  • Anxiety disorders affect one in eight children.  If untreated, children with anxiety are at a higher risk to perform poorly in school, miss out on important social experiences, and engage in substance abuse (www.adaa.org).

How does it work?

TeenScreen is a voluntary program and parental and teen consent are always obtained before a screening begins. The screening is a 10-15 minute computerized, self-administered questionnaire that screens for major depression, suicidality, alcohol and drug abuse, panic disorder, social phobia, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.  Once the screen is complete, the teen will speak briefly with a Master’s degree level Outreach counselor to review their responses.  If the screen, or the youth, indicates additional counseling may be necessary or helpful, the counselor will contact the parents and provide them with appropriate referrals for services.  The teen’s safety is always a priority and confidentiality is safeguarded.

Participants’ Reactions to the Screening:

“I think it is very helpful and important. I know from experience that many kids, including my friends, deal with depression, anxiety, OCD, and drug problems but are never given a real evaluation and live with these problems as though they are normal.”

“It was interesting in the variety of questions they had asked me. I felt comfortable when taking this screening and think that it serves as a good self-evaluation.”

“It was a good way to evaluate myself, I haven’t really had the time to sit down and think about myself really.”




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