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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are some promising strategies I can use to increase the number of SBHC clients screened for depression?

  • Conduct a brief depression screening during each well-child visit and/or new client visit.
  • Identify an area within the EHR (i.e. flowsheet) where a provider can quickly reference previous screening dates and outcomes (positive or negative) during any type of visit and then determine in real-time if they need to deliver another screening. This can also be helpful if you have patients who are seen across multiple sites using the same EHR system.
  • Engage in education and awareness-raising activities that inform youth that your SBHC offers screenings and referrals for depression and other mental health issues, not just physical health care.
  • Develop shared care plans with SBHC clients who receive primary and behavioral health care services so all providers can access those care plans.

2. What depression screening tool should we use in our SBHC?

  • Consider using an evidence-based screening tool like the PHQ2 as a brief, initial screen. The PHQ9 can be administered as a follow-up screen or as the initial screen, if time allows. Both have been validated for use with adolescent populations.

3. How do we document a positive depression screening and a subsequent follow-up plan?

  • Build a discrete field in your EHR to enter screening scores and to indicate whether the screen was positive or negative. Check with your EHR vendor or support services — you may have an applicable function(s) you’re not aware of that you can use, such as a flowsheet. This would allow you to add a discrete field to capture this data.

4. If a depression screening is already part of a WCV or risk assessment, how can we separate the screen in order to report it?

  • If your risk assessment already includes a depression screen, count those visits toward the number of students with a depression screen.
  • You can also create a discrete field to note that you completed a depression screening as a separate service from the WCV or risk assessment, and another discrete field to track the screening results and any follow-ups plans that were made.