By Louis La Plante
University of Evansville Psychology Department Chair, Mark Kopta, and UE alumna and Department of Psychology Chair at Loyola College in Maryland, Jenny Lowry, have developed a new web-based personal computer/PDA system that evaluates mental health. The new system can assess the mental health of a patient in less than three minutes.
The new technology, CelestHealth Clinical Report System, measures different components of metal health: well-being, psychological symptoms, and areas of life functioning. Well-being is a calculation of motivation, energy, and life satisfaction, and psychological symptoms determine one's anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, eating disorder, etc. "Areas of life functioning" is a term used to evaluate one's relationships.
The system uses questions from a paper questionnaire developed in 2002, which is now used on 55 college campuses as well as several primary care and mental health centers. The paper questionnaire was completed and scored in 20 minutes. The electronic version reduces that time by 17 minutes and allows psychologists to more quickly detect mental health problems such as suicidal tendencies.
Johns Hopkins University, the University of Minnesota, and Loyola Marymount University are three colleges that will test the PDA questionnaires at their counseling centers this January.