Implementing SBIRT for Adolescents Within Community Mental Health Organizations: A Mixed Methods Study

April 27, 2022
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This mixed methods study examined the implementation of SBIRT across 27 community mental health organizations (CMHOs) serving adolescents. All participating organizations were expected to implement SBIRT, using CRAFFT and UNCOPE instruments with adolescents aged 15 to 22, and based on the results, deliver a brief intervention and/or referral to treatment. A total of 2,783 adolescents were screened for alcohol and drug use with 1,517 (52.8%) receiving a positive drug or alcohol screen. While most organizations did implement the SBIRT model, the quantitative findings demonstrate gaps in implementation; not all adolescents who screened positive received a brief intervention. Further, only about half of those referred to treatment actually followed through. Qualitative findings include barriers in implementation around integrating the screening into clinical workflow, documentation, and securing funding streams. Study findings demonstrate the advantages of SBIRT implementation at CMHOs, but the need for additional implementation support to ensure long-term sustainability.

Victoria Stanhope, Jennifer I. Manuel, Lauren Jessell, & Teresa M. Halliday