National Depression and Mental Health Screening Month: Online Screening Tools

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic and other reasons, we now use computers to do many things virtually. Why shouldn’t we use online tools to screen our mental health?

That’s exactly what we can do when we visit various websites. Some cites list several tests that you can take to determine if you’re experiencing depression, PTSD, bipolar disorder, anxiety, postpartum depression, and other conditions.

Virtual screening for addiction

Other sites are more specific. If you’re concerned that you have an addiction, you can visit certain sites to determine if you have a problem with alcohol or drugs.

For example, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) lists several assessment and screening tools for people with possible addictions and for professionals who treat people with such problems.

Another virtual screening effort is a procedure called electronic screening and brief intervention (e-SBI). This process uses electronic devices to assess how people are using alcohol.

If e-SBI screenings show that people’s alcohol use is indeed problematic, people receive customized feedback about the risks of alcohol. This feedback can be online or from a person on the phone.

People matter

Since e-SBI tools include feedback, they illustrate how actual people are still a part of virtual mental health screening. Virtual doesn’t mean impersonal.

People are still integral to medical screening and care. After all, electronic screening such doesn’t take the place of diagnosing and treating addiction and other mental health matters. Such assessments are only the first step.

By using such screenings, people might determine that they have a problem with alcohol or other mental health concerns and decide that they want assistance.

They may be able to find this help online in the form of therapists and/or support groups. Or, if their problems are particularly severe or complex, they may seek help from inpatient addiction rehabilitation centers or structured outpatient treatment programs.

Remote screenings may make it sound as if effective treatment is remote, but caring assistance can be as close as a tap on a screen or a click of a mouse.

Sources

drugabuse.gov – Screening and Assessment Tools Chart

ajpmonline.org – Alcohol Electronic Screening and Brief Intervention

thecommunityguide.org – Alcohol – Excessive Consumption: Electronic Screening and Brief Interventions (e-SBI)

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