Implementation of a screen and treat program for child posttraumatic stress disorder in a school setting after a school suicide

Authors

  • Anthony Charuvastra,

    Corresponding author
    1. NYU Medical Center and Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research
    Current affiliation:
    1. Trauma and Resilience Research Program, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, NYU Medical Center, and Department of Psychiatry, Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research
    • Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research, 140 Old Orangeburg Road, Orangeburg, New York 10962
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  • Elizabeth Goldfarb,

    1. Bard College
    Current affiliation:
    1. Department of Psychology, Bard College
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  • Eva Petkova,

    1. NYU Medical Center and Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research
    Current affiliation:
    1. Trauma and Resilience Research Program, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, NYU Medical Center, and Department of Psychiatry, Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research
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  • Marylene Cloitre

    1. NYU Medical Center and Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research
    Current affiliation:
    1. Trauma and Resilience Research Program, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, NYU Medical Center, and Department of Psychiatry, Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research
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Abstract

To provide effective treatments for childhood posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) children with PTSD must first be identified. The authors implemented a “screen and treat” program following a widely witnessed school suicide. Three months after the suicide, exposed students received the Child Trauma Symptom Questionnaire at school. Parents received the questionnaire to rate their children's PTSD symptoms. Children with scores ⩾5 received follow-up interviews and those diagnosed with PTSD were referred for treatment. Ninety-six percent of exposed students were screened, 14% screened positive, and 6% had PTSD. Child and parent agreement was generally poor. All children with PTSD were successfully referred to treatment. Screen and treat programs using existing clinical instruments are efficient and acceptable for use in school settings following trauma.

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