Principal Investigator: Tracy R.G. Gladstone, Ph.D.,
Funded by: MetroWest Health Foundation
Youth depression is a problem of major proportions, and over half of all teens who plan or attempt suicide have a mood disorder at the time. As a result, the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force (2016) strongly endorsed depression screening for all young persons between the ages of 12 and 18, as a way to identify at-risk children who may fall through the cracks. With funding from the MetroWest Health Foundation, the team aims to provide support to schools for prevention, intervention, and access to treatment in order to reduce mental health symptoms among adolescents. Specifically, the project aims to implement an evidence-based depression and suicide prevention program that targets high-risk adolescents in the Holliston Public Schools. The program will increase the school community’s mental health awareness and literacy, which serves as a prevention tool for the community regarding adolescent depression; offer two-level screening to students in one middle school and two high school grades, including universal, self-report screening for all students, followed by in-depth interviews with students who screen as high risk; and communicate with Holliston parents/guardians about youth depression and resources, provide more significant follow-up (both immediate and long-term) with parents/guardians of high-risk teens, and provide all school families with access to the Interface Referral Network.