The Washington Post

February 25, 2003

Suicide Mission

By: Carol Vinzant


Along with the mental health advocacy group Positive Action for Teen Health (PATH), TeenScreen has launched an ambitious plan to screen -- and, as required, direct to treatment -- every teen in America.


TeenScreen leaders find that resistance still comes from some parents, who object to having their child interviewed on such personal topics. Parents usually have to sign a consent form to permit their child to take the test, and often only 50 to 70 percent do (sometimes it's far lower). Sometimes PATH will add incentives like movie rental coupons for those who return screening forms. Another tactic is to require action from parents -- a denial-of-permission slip -- to forbid the testing. When this is done, only about 10 percent actively object.