Are you worried about using assessment tools because you feel you are not a specialist? This eLearning modules will increase your confidence and get your started. The CORC website gives you access to many mental health and wellbeing assessment tools for use with children, young people and staff. They are not diagnostic but are useful in giving you an idea of functioning and exploring with a young person, how difficulties impact on them. The government is advocating the use of the strengths and difficulties questionnaire, but my favourite for measuring wellbeing is the SWEMWBS.
The SWEMWBS has 7 statements relating to functioning – see the clip below. Young people who score low for this, generally have symptoms of depression or anxiety, which you can then assess using the PHQ9 for depression and GAD7 for anxiety. The PHQ-9 prompts you to ask about suicide risk, as the last question, which I find useful as it leads gently into this area so you can discuss risk in an easy way. The GAD-7 just assesses for generalised anxiety, so if you want to consider sub-categories for anxiety presentations, for example if the anxiety is OCD, or social phobia, then consider using the RCADS. A YP can complete an RCADS on line and it self generates a graph of symptoms clusters and categories which again is not diagnostic but can help you consider how to tailor your self-help information.