Needs Assessments

Mental health screening is a critical step in the process of supporting student mental health and schools should consider implementing universal screeners if they have the capacity to connect students to support and services in a streamlined way.

Selecting an Appropriate Screening Tool graphic


Universal screening data is only a starting point and should never be the end of the conversation. A universal screener is designed to help identify WHO might need extra support, it is not designed to tell WHAT that support should be. It’s important to use the data gained from universal screeners to help best allocate time and resources to gather more information on students and look beyond the screening data. 

Trails to Wellness Assessment Tools

This Michigan-based resource includes multiple brief, high-quality assessment tools to identify primary symptoms and observe changes over time for students in grades 3-12.

UCLA Brief COVID-19 Screen for Child/Adolescent PTSD

This self-scoring assessment is designed to determine if a child or adolescent may be experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Smile to Frown Screening Tool

Student Mental Health Screening: A Toolkit for Schools During COVID-19  

*use Google Chrome to open*

The purpose of this screening toolkit is to provide schools with tools that may help identify students in need of additional assessment, support services, or intervention. The toolkit includes recommended language for obtaining parent/guardian consent for screening and assessment and a suggested teacher script for introducing universal screeners.

Student Risk Screening Scale (SRSS)

The SRSS is a universal screening tool that helps identify students who are a t risk for behavioral problems. Teachers assess various risk factors for each student in their classroom to determine who is at-risk.

Screening for Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and Trauma

As trauma-informed care continues to gain traction, more and more providers are beginning to screen individuals for exposure to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and trauma. This technical assistance tool offers various approaches and considerations for screening adults and children for ACE's and trauma.

Find Your ACE Score chart

SHAPES Assessment Library

This resource is a searchable library of free or low-cost screening and assessment measures related to school mental health, including academic, school climate, and social, emotional, and behavioral focus areas. Search filters allow you to narrow your results by focus area, assessment purpose, student age, language, reporter and cost. A free account can be created.

The Professional Quality of Life Scale (PROQOL)
The PROQOL is used to measure the positive and negative effects one feels in relation to their work as a helper for individuals who have experienced extremely stressful events. The scale can help determine the amount of secondary trauma, burnout, traumatic stress, grief/loss, relationships and attachment, and compassion fatigue for individuals whose work involves supporting others who have experienced suffering and trauma. This resource is 
reproducible if the document remains unchanged and credit is given to the group that created it. 

Conducting a Virtual Suicide Assessment Checklist
This checklist is designed to stimulate thinking about conducting school suicide intervention via telehealth. It should not supplant, nor is it a substitute for, approved school district protocols.

CDC Behavioral Risk Factors Surveillance System
To identify risk factors related to exposure to potentially traumatic experiences during childhood, Module 22 of this survey includes 11 questions related to exposure to childhood trauma which is obtained by interview. Module 22 starting at page 106 has the 11 questions that can be used without violation of copyright.

Fulcrum Shift graphic



It’s important to be intentional about making sure mental health screening is as safe, authentic, and reliable as possible, so that students know they can truly share how they are feeling and will receive the support they need. Before administering universal screeners to students, it is important that schools inventory what community resources and supports are available and to have a plan for how they will engage them for students identified as needing additional support.

Recommendations Around Mental Health Screening

*use Google Chrome to open*

The Jackson County ISD developed a step-by-step process for following the Mi-Safe Schools: Return to School Roadmap recommendations to provide mental health screening for all students.


Best Practices In Universal Social, Emotional and Behavioral Screening: An Implementation Guide

The purpose of this guide is to summarize the current state of research and practice related to universal social, emotional, and behavioral (SEB) screening and provide practical and defensible recommendations with purpose to support all students, and provide a means for early identification of those students who may be at-risk and benefit from early intervention.

Ready, Set, Go, Review: Screening for Behavioral Health Risk in Schools

This toolkit is designed to guide schools through the process of developing comprehensive screening procedures, as well as provide readily available resources to facilitate the implementation of effective behavioral health screening in schools.

Continuum of School Mental Health Services graph

Universal Screening, a Critical Element of any MTSS Model

This resource helps explain the practice of universal screening and the critical features of a screening tool, particularly as it relates to implementation of an integrated model of MTSS for academics and behavior.

School Mental Health Screening Playbook
This guide provides action steps for developing a Universal Screening tool for your school: the importance of screening, the 
purpose of screening, examples of screening tools, how to build the foundation for the screening including establishments of goals, identifying resources and the logistics of the application, selection of an appropriate screening tool, the process for determining consent and assent, and the development of data collection, dissemination and follow-up.

Resource Mapping

Resource mapping is a strategy for identifying and analyzing the programs, people, services, and other resources that currently exist in your school. This guide will give you a deeper understanding of the key programs and resources related to well-being and culture that your school is already utilizing, which will give you a solid foundation for planning.

Resiliency in the Face of Disaster: Strategies for Survivors and Responders
This Center for Mental Health Services presentation aims to educate crisis teams on mitigating hazards, enhancing preparedness, ensuring effective emergency responses and aiding in rapid recovery, including disaster reactions, risk factors, signs of distress, and resilience.

What We Know About Disaster Reactions graph

Harvard University Center on the Developing Child

Some children develop resilience, or the ability to overcome serious hardship, while others do not. Understanding why some children do well despite adverse early experiences is crucial, because it can inform more effective policies and programs that help more children reach their full potential.