Submitted by MSV Medical Student Section

WHEREAS,       approximately one in five children and adolescents meet diagnostic criteria for an emotional or behavioral health disorder[1], and

WHEREAS,       studies have shown approximately 13% of children from ages 8-15 met diagnostic criteria for at least one mental health disorder in a given year (1), and

WHEREAS,       the prevalence of lifetime mental health disorders in adolescents from age 13-18 was approximately 50% (1), and

WHEREAS,       the average time between symptoms appearing and intervention is 8-10 years[2], and

WHEREAS,       only 50% of adolescents with a mental health disorder had received supportive services (1), and

WHEREAS,       studies have shown children with untreated depression go on into adulthood accruing more healthcare costs[3], and

WHEREAS,       adolescent-onset major depressive disorder is more likely than those with adult-onset major depressive disorder to increase likelihood of recurrent depressive episodes, increase symptom severity, and increase risk of suicide[4], and

WHEREAS,       less than 15% of schools currently have procedures in place to successfully evaluate students’ mental health needs (1), and

WHEREAS,       multiple mental health screening tools with high sensitivities and specificities have been developed and validated by the American Academy of Pediatrics[5], and

WHEREAS,       the state of Virginia passed House Joint Resolution no. 586 requesting a study of the benefits of mental health screenings in Virginia public schools, with no further official follow-up or action[6], and

WHEREAS,       the state of Virginia passed bill SB1195 establishing a joint task force to assess the landscape of mental health screenings[7], and

WHEREAS,       the state of Illinois mandated age-appropriate developmental, emotional, and social health screenings for all students entering the Illinois public school system as part of an overall health exam[8], and 

WHEREAS,       Boston Public Schools have instituted a standardized mental health screening survey given to students[9], and

WHEREAS,       a Colorado school district that instituted standardized mental health screenings increased the amount of students receiving counseling from 29 to 150 students (9), and

WHEREAS,       the National Alliance on Mental Illness strongly supports early mental health screening in pediatric practices and public schools (2), and

WHEREAS,       the American Medical Association recognizes the importance of involving schools in mental health screenings and treatment services of children and adolescents[10], therefore be it

RESOLVED,     that MSV supports research efforts to determine the efficacy of mental health screenings in Virginia public schools, and be it further

RESOLVED,     that MSV supports the development of standardized mental health programs that provide mental health screening and treatment services to students in Virginia public schools.


[1] Siceloff, E. R., Bradley, J.W., Flory, K. (2017). Universal Behavioral/Emotional Health Screening in Schools: Overview and Feasibility. Report on Emotional and Behavioral Disorders in Youth, 17(2), 32.

[2] (2019). Mental Health Screening. [online] Available at: [Accessed 28 Aug. 2019].

[3]  Miller, J. E. (2014). The Need for Early Mental Health Screening and Intervention Across the Lifespan Alexandria, VA: American Mental Health Counselors Association. The Advancement for Clinical Practice Committee of the American Mental Health

[4] Sacchet, M.D. et. al. (2016). Large-Scale Hypoconnectivity Between Resting-State Functional Networks in Unmedicated Adolescent Major Depressive Disorder. Neuropsychopharmacology. 41(12), 2951-2960.

[5] American Academy of Pediatrics. (2019). Mental Health Screening and Assessment Tools for Primary Care. Accessed August 28, 2019.

[6] House Joint Resolution No. 586. Accessed Aug 28, 2019.

[7] SB 1195 School-based health centers; Va’s Children’s Cabinet shall establish joint task force. Accessed Aug 28, 2019.

[8] Public Act 099-0927, SB0565 Enrolled. Accessed Aug 28, 2019.

[9] Schimke, A. (2019). ‘It’s OK to not be OK’: How one high school saved lives with a 34-question survey. [online] Chalkbeat. Available at: [Accessed 28 Aug. 2019].

[10] H-345.977 Improving Pediatric Mental Health Screening | AMA. Accessed August 28, 2019.