For the first time, mental health can be assessed completely and immediately in less than three minutes. A group of university psychologists and technology experts has created CelestHealth Clinical Report system, a new Web-based personal computer/PDA system that measures the essential components of mental health: well-being; psychological symptoms; and specific areas of life functioning.
CelestHealth Clinical Report system is new technology based on a \"paper version\" previously developed by the researchers: the Behavioral Health Measure-20, introduced in 2002 to assess mental health and to provide feedback as to whether the patient is normal, at risk for mental disorder, or mentally disordered in the variety of components. The Behavioral Health Measure-20 (now used on 55 college campuses and by several primary care and mental health centers), served as a breakthrough in mental health assessment. It was developed by S. Mark Kopta, chair and professor of psychology at the University of Evansville in Indiana and Jenny L. Lowry, chair and associate professor of psychology at Loyola College in Maryland.
\"The new Web-based system is a giant leap... using immediate electronic feedback,\" says Professor Kopta. \"Physicians can more accurately and much more quickly assess mental disorders so that the best medication can be provided. Suicidal and violent tendencies can be more quickly detected. Psychotherapists can treat patients in a more cost-effective manner.\"
The CelestHealth Clinical Report system was introduced in October by Professor Kopta, the research group's leader, at the national conference for the Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors in Vail, Colorado: http://www.aucccd.org/conference/2006Conference.htm . It is soon to be tested at counseling centers at Johns Hopkins University, University of Minnesota, and Loyola Marymount University. A PDA version of the system will be available for testing in January.
The Behavioral Health Measure-20 (\"paper version\") was developed in two forms: a standard version for use by psychotherapists in mental health centers and by physicians; and a college counseling version, designed specifically for use in college counseling centers. While the paper version can be taken and scored in about 20 minutes, the need for a quicker comprehensive version, especially in situations where there may be a risk of patient suicide or other dangers, is clear in many situations, according to the researchers. \"Having results available in a matter of seconds when a patient is still in the office, is significant and can make a huge difference in certain cases,\" notes Kopta.
The system "works similarly to a blood test" in medicine, according to its developers. The patient completes the questionnaire on a web site or using a PDA. The psychotherapist or physician as well as the patient are then immediately provided with a color-coded mental health profile that accurately assesses the different components of mental health:
- Well-Being-motivation, energy, and life satisfaction;
- Psychological Symptoms-anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, eating disorder, drug/alcohol abuse, suicide, and danger to others;
- Areas of Life Functioning-work/school, intimate relationships, social relationships, and life enjoyment.
Additionally, the system features special alerts. For example, the Suicide Tracking Scale allows the clinician to immediately see if the patient is at risk to harm himself. The Harm to Others alert detects whether the patient is likely to commit violent acts. It also features the Psychotherapy Risk scale that warns the clinician-before treatment begins-whether the patient is at risk to respond poorly to psychotherapy. This latter feature is also a \"first\" in the mental health field.
\"Patients complete the system\'s questionnaire each time they visit the psychotherapist's or physician\'s office,\" says Dr. Kopta. \"Therefore, they can see how they improve over time or be alerted if their mental health starts to decline.\"
Source: Academy Communications
P.O. Box 231
Boxford, MA 01921
Helping Colleges & Universities with Media Outreach