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THE DISC PREDICTIVE SCALE PROVIDES THE OPPORTUNITY TO REDESIGN THE NATIONAL MODEL FOR EARLY SCREENING OF ADOLESCENT PSYCHIATRIC DISORDERS.

background ON ADOLESCENT MENTAL HEALTH

  • We know that US teens are more stressed than ever before. In a 2013 survey, teens reported higher stress levels than adults and many also reported feeling overwhelmed, depressed or sad as a result of stress.

  • The U.S. Preventative Task Force has updated their recommendations in support of screening for depression for all adolescents aged 12-18.

  • 50% of mental health disorders have their onset by the age of 14 and 75% percent emerge before the age of 24.

  • The adolescent brain is especially vulnerable, and the period from 12-25 is a critical opportunity to affect the healthy development of our youth.

The Project

The DISC Predictive Scale (DPS) is a validated, computer-based screening tool to identify young people at risk for depression, anxiety, substance use and suicide, as well as other mental health conditions.  

Currently, approximately 13,000 adolescents at 10 sites throughout the United States use the DPS in schools to assess their mental health risk.  Over 300 schools and clinics across the country have used the DPS.

For this project, students will work on a complete upgrade of the DPS, moving it from an outdated Java version (built 10 years ago) to a new web-based system.  This will allow the schools and clinics to see the results as soon as student finishes the screening test.  Furthermore,  the scale will be updated to include several questions related to early psychosis issues, which are nationally prevalent.

Students will develop a transition process for the new system, and establish guidelines for ongoing technical maintenance.

technical skills

We are looking for students with a background in or a willingness to learn: 

  • Web development (Javascript, PHP, HTML/CSS, SQL, node.js)

  • Statistical analysis (R, Python, and Matlab)