School SBIRT-Screening, Brief Intervention, Referral to Treatment

What is SBIRT? 
SBIRT stands for Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment. Originally developed for delivery in busy health care settings, SBIRT offers an efficient, evidence-based, and comprehensive service to address selected behavioral health concerns among adolescents (e.g., alcohol/other drug involvement). Although originally designed as a universal prevention approach (Tier 1), SBIRT is readily adapted for delivery in middle and high school settings by existing student services staff as a selected (Tier 2) or indicated (Tier 3) intervention.

Why deliver SBIRT services in your school? 

  • SBIRT is well-established and evidence-based.

  • SBIRT expands the capacity of student services to effectively and efficiently address a range of behavioral health concerns (e.g., alcohol/drug use, mental health) which, in turn, promotes school engagement and learning outcomes.

  • SBIRT fits with a student-centered, strength-based philosophy.

  • SBIRT is student friendly, culturally relevant, and highly engaging. No problem recognition is required for a student to benefit from SBIRT. Teenagers rate these services with high levels of satisfaction.

  • SBIRT fits with Response to Intervention. Screening provides baseline data, then approximately 30 days later, follow up screening ascertains individual student response to Brief Intervention.

  • SBIRT fits with Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports. Services can be delivered as an indicated (Tier 3) or selected (Tier 2) intervention. Because of the amount of resources required, this project does not endorse implementation of universal screening (Tier 1).

  • Implementation allows for flexibility. Staff are trained to use a protocol which guides delivery of services. Staff decide the focus of intervention, number of BI sessions, and format of delivery (individual or small groups).

Who do I contact if I need more information?
For more information about School SBIRT and the Training and Implementation Project, please contact Tracy Herlitzke, WISH Center Director ( or Scott Caldwell, DHS SBIRT Coordinator (


GAIN-SS on DPI Website

The Global Appraisal of Individual Needs – Short Screener (GAIN-SS) is an evidence-based, 16-question behavioral health screening tool developed by Chestnut Health Systems that identifies needs for further assessment in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and anger management for adolescents and adults. This electronic tool has been made available here in Wisconsin through a cooperative effort of the Department of Public Instruction, Department of Health Services, and Wisconsin Family Ties and is appropriate for use by pupil services professionals and community providers.

The Department of Public Instruction is now hosting the GAIN-SS at This new home page includes electronic and hard-copy versions of the tool, the GAIN-SS manual, a link to a webcast to learn how to administer the GAIN-SS, instructions for both pupil services professionals and county providers, parent and student consent forms, and links to lists of treatment providers by county.

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