Behavioral Health Screening
Screen, Intervene & Refer
Kent School District’s (KSD) primary goal is to prepare all students to be college ready by raising the academic and social learning bar. Our schools provide opportunities to highlight student strengths and support them in both academic and social emotional growth.
To aid in this important work, we’re teaming up with several local partners to implement a screening and intervention system for students in grades 7-8 and for high school students needing support with attendance.
- Communities In Schools of Kent provides mentoring for students.
- Kent Youth and Family Services provides drug and alcohol prevention and intervention services to students and mental health counseling in one of the middle schools.
- Valley Cities Behavioral Health provides mental health counseling to five of the middle schools.
It’s all about balance. In addition to the support of parents, teachers, and others, this screening is one element that can help students through this unique time in their lives.
Model of Care
We will be using an evidence-based practice model known as SBIRT that has been changed to be used within the school setting. SBIRT stands for Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral To services.
Screening is done through the Check Yourself tool developed by Seattle Children’s Hospital and the University of Washington with Tickit Health. The screening asks students questions about their strengths, goals, mental health, substance use and safety.
Based on screening results, the school counseling team, community partners and district support, connect with students who show high levels of risk or want more support. Students may receive a brief intervention of several sessions with their school counselor based on motivational interviewing principles.
Students at high levels of risk may be referred to providers in the community for more supports.
Check Yourself School-based tool is an interactive electronic screening tool that gives teens personalized feedback and strategies for staying healthy. It also gives the school support team key information about the student. The goal of the tool is to help spark conversations between teens and their support team that motivate teens to make healthy choices.
Youth involvement in the development of the tool has been essential in ensuring the information is applicable and engaging. Electronic screening via Check Yourself School-based can increase teen comfort and honesty and remove bias in how questions are asked.
The personalized feedback includes research-based motivational strategies to help teens set their own goals and start thinking about opportunities before meeting with a school counselor.
Meeting with Student After Screening
After using the Check Yourself tool, all students will meet or have a check-in with staff within three weeks to review their results. The SBIRT parent advisory group from the 2018-2019 school year valued the idea of every student having a connection to an adult regardless of the survey results.
Certain questions and answers are identified for immediate follow-up based on a tiered system. Tier 2 indicates the need for a scheduled follow-up (within two weeks) and Tier 3 indicates the need for immediate follow-up (day of or next day) with the student.
If there is any indication from the screening tool or from follow-up conversations about a student’s intent to harm themselves or others, staff will follow existing policies and contact parents/caregivers.
Tier 2 Student Response Examples
- Reports use of substances in the last school year
- Reports somatic symptoms (frequent aches and pains)
- Reports depression symptoms
- Reports anxiety symptoms
- Wants to speak with a counselor confidentially within the next few weeks
- Reports intention (maybe or likely) to use marijuana or alcohol in the next year
- Feels harassed or threatened in some way in the past year but safety is not at risk
- Reports experiencing any symptoms from trauma more than one month ago
Tier 3 Student Response Examples
- Endorses self-harm or suicidal thoughts
- Reports experiencing any symptoms from trauma over the past month
- Reports wanting to speak to a counselor confidentially ASAP
- Feels harassed or threatened in some way in the past year AND their safety is currently at risk
Screening Opt-Out Process
Parents and students will receive an email or an attendance letter indicating screening will take place. Parents will have the option to opt their child out of screening. Students also have the choice of opting themselves out of the screening at any time in the screening process.
If parents would like to see the screening tool or have questions about the screening tool, they can contact Cheri Simpson, Cheri.Simpson@kent.k12.wa.us
Parents will also be notified if the screener indicates high levels of risk and in instances where the counseling team is referring the student to supports within the community.
All middle schools will be providing universal screenings. These screening are scheduled to take place during the first semester. Secondary schools will also be utilizing screening throughout the attendance process. Between the 2nd and 7th unexcused absence in a school year, schools must provide secondary students with a screening tool in order to take data informed steps. KSD is working closely with King County and Seattle Children’s to monitor the implementation of SBIRT to ensure its effectiveness.
The tool is a HIPAA compliant, interactive, web-based survey that collects individual student data and provides them with instant personalized feedback about mental health behaviors. Only direct providers, like the school counselor, nurse or interventionist will have access to identifiable student information. All providers are required to follow regulations and protect student information at all times.