Mental health screening tool helps improve outcomes for children, youth
The interRAI Brief Mental Health Screener (BMHS) was co-developed by Drs. Hoffman and Brown of Nipissing's School of Criminology and Criminal Justice and aims to increase service access for children and youth with mental health needs, by empowering police officers with the tools and knowledge to recognize and react appropriately to major indicators of mental health problems.
The BMHS is currently being used by over 20 police services in Ontario as well as the entire provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta. The RCMP is also currently looking into implementation in select jurisdictions. The original article documenting the development of the tool can be found here.
The project reported on recently by local media focuses on a $100,000 Child and Youth Mental Health Impact Grant from Mental Health Research Canada jointly won by Dr. Hoffman, Dr. Brown, Dr. Roxana Vernescu, Chair of the Child and Family Studies, and Dr. Tina Benevides from Hands theFamilyHelpNetwork. The collaborative project involves local police using HealthIM software built around the BMHS to capture information pertaining to the mental health of a child or youth at risk. The information is then forwarded, with consent, to local mental health community agencies for follow-up with the hope that earlier intervention and treatment will lead to better outcomes for the child or youth.
Three students in the MA Sociology program at Nipissing have also written theses on the data collected using the BMHS. Drs. Hoffman and Brown are engaged in ongoing research based on over 120,000 completed BMHS assessments in the interRAI Canada database.
For more details on the project funded by Mental Health Research Canada, visit: https://www.mhrc.ca/northern-ontario.