New SBIRT Program Supports Middle School Mental Health
This school year, both Twin Falls and Chief Kanim middle schools in the Snoqualmie Valley School District will join 11 other school districts (including Bellevue, Lake Washington, and Tahoma) in partnering with King County to implement a school-based program called SBIRT. The acronym SBIRT stands for: Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Services. The goal of the SBIRT initiative is to promote positive mental health and reduce adolescent substance abuse, by helping identify students who may need extra support and connecting them with the resources they may need to thrive.
“We are thrilled to have been awarded the SBIRT grant from King County which is designed to bolster social, emotional, and behavioral support for our middle school students. SBIRT resources will help our staff more quickly identify and effectively address the needs of students who may be struggling in these areas,” explained SVSD Executive Director of Student Services Nancy Meeks.
The SBIRT program involves the following components:
Screening: Through a school-based referral process, staff will identify students to take the “Check Yourself” screening tool. The tool, developed by Seattle Children’s Hospital and the University of Washington with Tickit Health, is an interactive, research-based teen-friendly online survey that takes students about 15 minutes to complete. It provides instant personalized feedback about health behaviors in four areas: strengths and goals, substance use, mental health, and personal safety. The screener will be administered by the school’s success coordinator or counselor, and student responses will only be reviewed by our school’s Intervention Team (which consists of administrators, counselors, nurse, school psychologist, and success coordinator). The results will provide valuable feedback that will help determine what supports a student may need to be successful. The Check Yourself screening tool is HIPAA compliant with password protection and meets personal health information privacy and security standards.
Brief Intervention: If the screening shows a need for additional support, our school’s Intervention Team will review the results, along with additional student data (such as attendance, School-wide Information System (SWIS) referrals, grades and teacher feedback), to determine the appropriate next steps for the student.
Referral to Services: If the Intervention Team suggests the student would benefit from meeting with a school counselor or additional services outside of our school, a referral to those additional services will be suggested. Parents/guardians will be notified if the screener indicates high levels of risk and services are needed immediately.
The SBIRT program is funded through a three-year King County grant, supported by the Best Starts for Kids and Mental Illness and Drug Dependency (MIDD) initiatives, as well as the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation and Reclaiming Futures. This model has already been proven successful in supporting students in primary care settings, school-based health clinics, and emergency departments. It is our goal, through SBIRT, that students in the Snoqualmie Valley School District who may need extra support will be quickly identified and connected to appropriate support services.
Questions? At Chief Kanim Middle School, please contact Assistant Principal Mark Allen (email@example.com or 425-831-8230), and at Twin Falls Middle School, contact Assistant Principal Megan Botulinski (firstname.lastname@example.org or 425-831-4145) for more information.