What is BRISC?

The Brief Intervention for School Clinicians (BRISC) is a research-based, fully manualized intervention strategy for use by professionals working individually with high school students experiencing emotional and behavioral stressors. BRISC was designed to be responsive to the typical presenting problems of high-school students, as well as their approach to help-seeking and their patterns of service participation. BRISC provides a brief, flexible structure that can be used by a range of school-based practitioners, including licensed clinicians, school social workers, school counselors, or other professionals.

During the four-session BRISC sequence, the practitioner engages the student in a structured engagement and assessment process that results in priority treatment goals in the student’s own words. The practitioner then rapidly engages the student in a collaborative problem solving process that identifies and addresses difficulties that are causing distress and impacting academic performance and mental well-being. In addition to structured problem-solving, BRISC incorporates empirically supported skill-building strategies, such as motivational interviewing, psychoeducation, cognitive restructuring, relaxation, and communication skills. Systematic progress monitoring guides clinical decisions within BRISC, including “post-BRISC” triage and decision support: After four sessions, the practitioner evaluates progress with the student and chooses one of the following next steps: (1) complete treatment, (2) complete treatment and continue with periodic check-ins, (3) continue treatment, (4) refer to school-based supports, or (5) refer to more intensive or specialized MH services. Research to date has found that over 50% of students can successfully complete BRISC treatment after four sessions.

As described in the Research summary, a recent randomized multi-site study found that BRISC practitioners were better able to retain students in treatment at 2 months and more likely to discharge students from school services by 6 months than school-based services as usual (SAU), providing support for the efficiency of BRISC. BRISC students also showed greater problem resolution than SAU, and BRISC students who presented with clinical levels of anxiety and other mental health symptoms were more likely to move out of the clinical range on these measures. Based on these encouraging findings, a web-based, self-paced e-Learning platform for BRISC is now available.

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