School-Based Mental Health Checkups: Ready for Practical Action?


Address correspondence to Stephen R. Shirk, Department of Psychology, University of Denver, Frontier Hall, 2155 South Race Street, Denver, CO 80208. E-mail:;


Fox, Halpern, and Forsyth (2008) offer a compelling case for school-based mental health checkups for children at risk for developing anxiety and depressive disorders. Although the concept of universal mental health screening has obvious merits, a number of important issues in clinical science, practice, and training need to be addressed in order to promote successful implementation. With regard to clinical science, issues pertaining to risk assessment, screening implementation, and prevention effects for anxiety and depression deserve additional attention. Many of the challenging issues involved in the dissemination and utilization of evidence-based treatments, including current training of school-based clinicians, apply to screening and prevention efforts. We highlight some of what needs to be done in order to transport the concept of mental health checkups into school-based practice.