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Dayton, OH: AAP recommends mental health screenings for kids; county will comply for all districts

Mar 1, 2018, Dayton (OH) Daily News: Officials hope mental health screenings will prevent school violence The plan to offer free, annual mental health screenings to students at all school districts in Montgomery County was in development before the Feb. 14 mass school shooting in Florida, but the tragedy has put an even bigger spotlight on the need for intervention before people get hurt, officials say. “This is disturbing behavior and behavior we have to do something about,” said Andrea Hoff, director of prevention and early intervention for the Montgomery County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Board. “People continue to think that it could never happen here… and we know that that’s not true.” … Earlier this week, the American Academy of Pediatrics updated its guidelines for diagnosing and treating depression in teens, recommending annual screenings for all children 12 and over. … In half of all mental health cases, issues begin by age 14, Hoff said. More than 50 percent of adolescent depression cases currently do not get identified before adulthood, according to the new AAP guidelines. … The screenings would take place during the school year much like student vision, hearing and scoliosis screenings do now. It would be offered for middle school, junior high and high school students, and would be conducted by a professional from Samaritan Behavioral Health. … Identifying potential mental health issues is one of the many strategies being discussed throughout the country in response to school shootings like the one at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., which killed 17 people.

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