New Jersey Gets One Step Closer to Universal Mental Health Screenings for All Students

a teen suffering with depression

Poor mental health has been one of the top issues that teens face in recent years. Unless you are looking for indications or if your teen comes to you, it can be hard to recognize when your teen is having a hard time. As depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts are becoming more common among teens, schools are now considering the idea of universal depression screening for their students. These screenings will help get them the services they need sooner to combat these issues.

How the Screenings Will Work

Once the bill is passed by Governor Phil Murphy, children in grades 7 through 12 will go through a universal depression screening with permission of the parent. The screening will consist of each child completing a computerized survey which will then be compared to a baseline. The district will then notify the parents if the child had been flagged for signs of depression.

It is important for parents to know that the results of the screenings are not a formal diagnosis, but rather, an indication that further steps should be taken. Teenagers often go several years before symptoms appear and treatment begins, and lawmakers are hoping to shorten that amount of time through these screenings.

When all children at schools are being screened for mental illnesses, it allows for the stigma of mental health to be lifted and it gets more people talking about the issue. When children are more comfortable talking about how they feel, that is when help can be given.

Learn about our Sage Certified Clinicians™ who work with our students struggling with anxiety and depression and provide them with the tools they need to succeed despite their obstacles.

Source:

NJ.com