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New Mental Health Assessment Using AI Launches In Hamilton County Juvenile Court

Blogtrepreneur via Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

Teens who go through Hamilton County's Juvenile Courts will soon have access to a first-of-its-kind mental health assessment. A new partnership between Terrace Metrics and Clarigent Health offers online assessments and other technology to identify at-risk youth.

Terrace Metrics is already used in Hamilton County schools and other schools throughout the region. It's a roughly 15-minute online assessment that creates a measurable way to see how youth are developing resiliency and social and emotional learning. Then, a curriculum of videos and other resources are created to help youth where they need it most.

"I think they thought, 'Why would we ignore our children that are in juvenile justice when we're already using this with kids in our third grade through 12th grade within Hamilton County and other parts of the region?' " said Terrace Metrics CEO Dr. Kate Chard.

Chard says the company's assessment has already helped school officials identify 30-50% more at-risk children.

"In one wonderful case, a child took our assessment. And the school then went to intervene due to the results. And the response from the child was, 'I was just waiting for you to find me,' " she said.

The company is partnering with Clarigent Health, which uses artificial intelligence to analyze vocal biomarkers to measure whether a person is at-risk of suicide. Clinicians are alerted if someone is at-risk and can modify treatment and medication.

Judge Melissa Powers, Senior Judge of Hamilton County Juvenile Court, said in a news release, "We are proud to be the first court in the country to use these cutting-edge tools to better understand and serve our children."

Staff are currently being trained on how to use the technology and a rollout of the new services is expected soon.

If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to speak with a certified listener at 800-273-8255.

Jolene Almendarez is the granddaughter of Mexican immigrants who came to San Antonio in the 1960s. She was raised in a military family and has always called the city home. She studied journalism at San Antonio College and earned a bachelor's degree in Journalism and Public Communications from the University of Alaska Anchorage. She's been a reporter in San Antonio and Castroville, Texas, and in Syracuse and Ithaca, New York.