Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Would your kid take a mental health test?

Laura Landro, WSJ, Aug 30, 2011, says the parents of some ninth graders in Wisconsin are being asked to consent to a mental health screening for their children.

What with suicide, depression, and spree killing, what do you think of this being added to vaccinations and some sports screening, such as that for a concussion baseline or cardiac wellness?

The Wisconsin test is computerized and takes 10 minutes.

Half of all mental illness begins by age 14. Eleven percent of kids have a depressive disorder by 18.

In the Wisconsin district in question, 2,500 students were screened between
2005-2008. A fifth were found to be “at risk.” Of this group, three-quarters were not receiving treatment.

After the screening, three quarters of those got at least one visit.

One kid quoted took the test because he got out of class to do it, but when he saw the questions, it dawned on him that this might apply.

Some lawmakers balked—first, they said, there must be treatment available before people are screened. Others felt kids might be stigmatized.

What do you think?

Some sample questions on the TeenScreen test are:

Has there been a time when nothing was fun for you and you weren’t interested in anything?

Have you ever had an attack when all of a sudden you felt afraid or strange?

I feel like that all the time—better not go by me.

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