Original Paper

Community Mental Health Journal

, Volume 48, Issue 1, pp 71-78

First online:

Mental Health Screening of African American Adolescents and Facilitated Access to Care

  • Mathilde M. HuskyAffiliated withDepartment of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, New York State Psychiatric Institute, Columbia UniversityTeenScreen National Center for Mental Health Checkups, Columbia University Email author 
  • , Deborah A. KanterAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Faculty of Health, York University
  • , Leslie McGuireAffiliated withDepartment of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, New York State Psychiatric Institute, Columbia UniversityTeenScreen National Center for Mental Health Checkups, Columbia University
  • , Mark OlfsonAffiliated withDepartment of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, New York State Psychiatric Institute, Columbia UniversityTeenScreen National Center for Mental Health Checkups, Columbia University

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Abstract

This study retrospectively reviews de-identified records from school-based mental health screening in a predominantly African American community. We compare participation rates, screening results, referrals to services and access to care of white and African American adolescents. Among those offered screening, 20.1% of white students (n = 297), and 28.8% of African American students (n = 499) were screened (χ2 = 32.47, df = 1, P < .001). African American students (45.1%) were significantly more likely than white students (33.0%), (AOR = 1.59; P = .003) to be identified as being at risk. In both racial groups, most youth accessed the school-based services (89.02%, 95% CI 82.25–95.79) and community services (86.57%, 95% CI 78.41–94.73) to which they were referred. The groups did not differ in the odds of accessing community-based services (AOR = .58; P = .49). African American students were, however, more likely than white students to access school-based services (AOR = 10.08; P = .022). The findings support the effectiveness of screening in school settings in predominantly African American communities.

Keywords

Adolescence African American youth Mental health screening Race/ethnicity