Psychosocial Assessment Interview

The headspace Psychosocial Assessment Interview is designed to assist with engaging young people and building rapport while assessing the full range of mental health disorders common in young people.

An assessment that assists clinicians to engage with young people and assess their psychosocial needs is essential because of the high prevalence of mental health and/or substance use problems in young people. However, there are few assessment tools for this purpose. To meet this need, the Centre of Excellence, with the contribution of two expert consensus panels, adapted the American HEEADSSS assessment interview. This included changing the language to suit the Australian context and extending the domains covered to allow the detection of more serious mental disorders.

Service providers (eg GPs, mental health professionals, social workers, youth workers, or substance use workers) with experience in conducting client assessments can use the tool to identify young people in need of mental health care and their needs.  The tool consists of a set of 'screening' and 'probing' questions. Practitioners who do not feel confident to conduct the full interview with a young person should choose only to complete the screening questions they feel competent to address.  If these screening questions suggest the need, refer on to another experienced practitioner for a full assessment.

headspace centres currently use the tool with young people. A preliminary evaluation found that the tool was both acceptable and useful to clinicians who are using it in their practice to assess young people's mental health problems and psychosocial functioning. A publication reporting the preliminary evaluation of the Psychosocial Assessment can be found here.

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