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Health: New Mental Health Screening Tool Debuts At Local Grocery Store

By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- There's a new, free and private way to get a mental health screening at the grocery store.  3 On Your Side Health Reporter Stephanie Stahl was there for the unveiling in North Philadelphia.

"We know we're going to reach many more people," announced Arthur Evans, Commissioner of Philadelphia's Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual Disability Services.  Taking away the stigma of mental health and offering help that's user friendly.  That's the idea behind a kiosk at the ShopRite on Fox Street.  It's a quick and easy way for people to screen themselves for things like depression, anxiety and substance abuse.

"A little bit out of the box, but it's a great idea.  It's convenient.  People have to go shopping, so sure if it's there why not use it," said Sara Halliburton-Hall.

It's estimated one in four Americans suffer a serious mental health problem every year, but 70 percent don't seek treatment.  This is designed to change that.

"Too often we are asking people to go to mental health clinics.  What we're doing is we're going to where people are," said Evans.

People answer a series of questions.  The kiosk does an instant assessment.  If a potential problem is detected a variety of recommendations are provided.

"I would have been able to understand some of the issues that were highlighted," said Paul Wilkins, a recovered addict.  He had been addicted to heroin and crack, before getting help and a job with the Department of Behavioral Health.  He says something like this might have been able to save him from years of desperation.

"We envision a world where mental health is viewed and treated with the same gravity as physical health," said Candice Porter, with Screening for Mental Health, Inc., the company that developed the kiosk screening tool.

Several groups joined the city's Department of Behavioral Health to launch the mental health kiosk, including the Scattergood Behavioral Health Foundation, Screening for Mental Health Inc., and Family Practice and Counseling Network.  They hope to open more.

Healthy Minds Philly Screening-


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