TeenScreen Goes Digital, Provides Materials Online

The TeenScreen National Center for Mental Health Checkups at Columbia University recently put more of its training and development materials online for its Schools and Communities Programs. TeenScreen is expecting that the increased availability of these online materials will spark more awareness about adolescent mental health issues and encourage middle and high school to set up screening programs. Currently, TeenScreen has over 2,000 sites in 46 states nationwide, but is hoping to increase that number in the future with the addition of its online tools.

The executive director of TeenScreen Laurie Flynn believes that adolescence is the proper time to begin addressing mental health issues, as half of all mental disorders start by age 14, according to research from the National Institute of Mental Health. If there is an ability to identify mental health problems and treat them from an early age, long-term side effects can more easily be avoided.

TeenScreen, a non-profit health initiative affiliated with the Columbia University Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, was launched 10 years ago after research from Columbia University indicated that mental health screening was effective and accurate in teens. Though TeenScreen was first put into practice in communities, it expanded its outreach in 2009 to include primary health care professionals, as new expert guidelines recommended depression screening as part of medical care.