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Simple Screening Tool for Possible Emotional or Mental Health Issues

There are times when One-Stop staff may see indications that a customer may have emotional or mental health issues. One-Stop staff are not intended to be diagnosticians. However, this simple screening tool can assist One-Stop staff in determining the possible presence of an emotional or mental health issue.

  • This information should obviously be collected discreetly and in a way that respects the individuals right to privacy. Also, to the extent possible, the information should be based on direct information from the person seeking assistance as well as the direct observation of staff.
  • Please be aware that saying yes to any of these items, even in combination, does not necessarily indicate any form of emotional or mental health problem. An individuals responses could simply be signs of a bad day, legitimate anger at events, a specific problem troubling them, or physical disability. However, if the customer answers yes to most of the items, and experiences these difficulties to such a degree that they cause problems in employment, education, and/or daily living, it might be a sign that the person could benefit from further specialized assessment from a qualified professional. Vocational Rehabilitation (a One-Stop partner), the state or county mental health agency, local mental health center, or other disability organization should be able to assist in obtaining such an assessment (see list of mental health resources at the end of this manual).
  • A specialized assessment from a qualified professional will help the One-Stop staff determine how best to support the individuals employment and training goals, and help the individual obtain additional support services. Such an assessment cannot and should not be used to exclude the individual from One-Stop services.
    • Does the person report feeling worried about something wrong with their thinking or their mind?
    • Does the person report that they are taking prescribed medication to either help them be less anxious, help them with their thinking, or help them be less depressed?
    • Does the person exhibit any unusual physical movements such as facial tics, muscle spasms, drooling?
    • Has the person ever mentioned doing harm to themselves or others?
    • Has the person ever mentioned hearing voices in their head or seeing things that arent really there?
    • Does the person seem extremely lethargic and uninterested in everything?
    • Does the person seem unduly distracted (acting as if they are not paying attention or do not hear you even when you are speaking directly to them)?
    • Does the person appear very angry even when there is no immediate problem?
    • Does the person appear to be speaking to themselves frequently or to others who arent in the immediate area?
    • Does the person seem very distrustful for no good reason you can ascertain?
    • Has the person ever been arrested or had other legal problems?
  • Has the person ever gotten help from a community mental health center, a community counseling agency, or a private counselor for one or more of the following:
    • Depression
    • Drinking or drug problems
    • Doing harm to themselves
    • Doing harm to others
    • Disorganized thinking
    • Agitation or nervousness

For more information, contact:
Joe Marrone, ICI
4517 NE 39th Ave.
Portland, OR 97211-8124
TEL: 503-331-0687

NOTE: Several states have recently begun to pilot assessment instruments for people with mental illness on TANF. The state of Minnesota is the furthest along as of this writing (April, 2000) and readers may want to contact the Minnesota DSHS, both the Family Investment Program and Mental Health Division, for more specific information about recent results.

Written by:

Joe Marrone