Home » Training Resources » What is SBIRT and why might it fit well in mental health settings?

What is SBIRT and why might it fit well in mental health settings?

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IRETA Blog

Putting the Puzzle Together. Credit: Ken Teegardin Putting the Puzzle Together. Credit: Ken Teegardin

Sort of amazingly, research on SBIRT for risky substance use in mental health settings is scant. That’s why we’re excited about a large randomized clinical trial that UCLA kicked off last year.

SBIRT (Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment) is an evidence-based public health approach to identifying and providing brief counseling for those who use alcohol or other drugs at risky levels.

Here’s how it works: a health practitioner screens a patient for risky use with a short questionnaire (like the AUDIT, DAST-10, or ASSIST). If the patient screens for moderate risky use, a brief intervention or brief treatment may follow. If the patient screens for severe risk, a referral to treatment may be indicated.

sbirt model

For over a decade, there has been a lot of energy dedicated to using SBIRT in primary care and hospital settings. That’s where SBIRT has largely been implemented.

But there…

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