What Is It?

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SBIRT: What Is It?


What is SBIRT?
SBIRT process image

SBIRT stands for Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral To.

Screening is done through the Check Yourself tool developed by Seattle Children’s Hospital and the University of Washington with Tickit Health. The screening asks students questions about their strengths, substance use, mental health and safety.

Based on screening results, the SBIRT support team, will connect with students who indicated higher levels of risk or requested additional support. Students may receive a brief intervention of several sessions with their SBIRT coordinator based on motivational interviewing principles.

Students at elevated levels of risk may be referred to providers in the community for additional support.

How does Tahoma School District plan on using SBIRT in its middle schools?

TSD is currently in the second year of this process. TSD is working closely with King County and Seattle Children’s to monitor the implementation of SBIRT to ensure its effectiveness.

What are the expected benefits of using SBIRT?

In the short-term (within 6 months), the District and County expect to see students report:

  • Decreased intention to use substances and frequency of substance use;
  • Decreased symptoms of depression, self-harm/suicidality, and anxiety; and,
  • Increased reports of feeling connected to their school.

Over the long-term we expect to see these changes in symptoms lead to:

  • Increased attendance
  • Decreased dropout rates
  • Increased high school graduation rates
  • Delayed onset of substance use

What is the Check Yourself tool?

image of Check youself Tool

The Check Yourself tool is an interactive electronic screening tool that gives teens personalized feedback and strategies for staying healthy. It also gives the school support team key information about the student. The goal of the tool is to help spark conversations between teens and their support team that motivate teens to make healthy choices.

Youth involvement in the development of the tool has been essential in ensuring the information is applicable and engaging. Electronic screening via Check Yourself can increase teen comfort and honesty and remove bias in how questions are asked.

The personalized feedback includes research-based motivational strategies to help teens set their own goals and start thinking about opportunities before meeting with a SBIRT Coordinator.

Meeting with student after screening

After answering the questions about their experiences, students are provided feedback based on their specific answers. The questions asked in the Check Yourself tool aim to not only identify possible symptoms that a student might be experiencing, but also provide context and identify existing supports and strengths.

The questions are designed to start a conversation with students about their health and well being, providing tailored and comprehensive support when necessary in the brief intervention and referral process.

How will student information be kept private?

The tool is a HIPPA compliant, interactive, web-based survey that collects individual student data and provides them with instant personalized feedback about mental health behaviors.

How will parents be informed about the screening?

Parents and students will be notified by letter delivered to students, parent email, and parent phone prior to the screener being administered. TSD has an “opt out” form available for parents to sign if you prefer your student does not participate in the screening.

Who will be screened and when will screening occur?

TSD is using the Check Yourself tool as a universal screener, which means it would eventually be taken by all students at a particular grade level.

Screening will be staggered throughout the year to help ensure student concerns can be addressed quickly and appropriately.

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