|The HEADSS mnemonic forms the basis for an assessment that provides a ‘psychosocial biopsy’, an opportunity to develop rapport, assess risk and provide a guide to any necessary interventions.
H HOME ENVIRONMENT
Where do you live? Who lives with you? How does each member get along? Who could you go to if you needed help with a problem?
Parent(s) jobs? Recent moves? Wanted to run away? Are there new people at home?
What do you like/not like about school/work?
What can you do well/what areas would you like to improve on? How do you get along with teachers/other students?
How are your grades; any suspensions? Changes?
Many young people experience bullying at school – have you ever had to put up with this?
Do you have meals with your family? Who cooks at home?
Are you worried about your weight? Do you think you are too thin or too fat?
Sometimes when people are stressed, they can over eat/under eat. Have you ever
experienced either of these? In general, what is your diet like?
In screening more specifically for eating disorders, you may ask about body image, the use of laxatives, diuretics, vomiting or excessive exercise and rigid dietary restrictions to control weight.
A ACTIVITIES AND PEER RELATIONSHIPS
With peers? (What do you do for fun? Where? When?) With family?
Sports - regular exercise? Hobbies? Tell me about the parties you go to. Do you belong to any clubs? How much TV would you watch a night? Favourite music?
Any trouble? Crimes? Arrests?
Many people at your age are starting to experiment with cigarettes/alcohol. Have any of your friends tried these or maybe other drugs like marijuana, snorting or injecting drugs, etc? How about you, have you tried any? What effects have you found? Do you have any regrets? How much are you taking, how often and has frequency increased recently?
Some people are getting involved in sexual relationships. Have you had a sexual
experience with a guy or a girl, or both?
Degree and types of sexual experience? Number of partners? Masturbation/
contraception? Knowledge about STDs
Has anyone ever touched you in a way that’s made you feel uncomfortable or forced you into a sexual relationship? (History of sexual or physical abuse?) How do you feel about relationships in general/about your own sexuality?
S SUICIDE/DEPRESSION/MOOD SCREEN
How do you feel about yourself at the moment on a scale of 1 to 10? What sort of things do you do if you are feeling sad/angry/hurt?
Is there anyone you can talk to? Do you feel this way often?
Some people who feel really down often feel like hurting themselves or even killing themselves. Have you ever felt this way?
Have you ever tried to hurt yourself or take your own life? What have you tried?
What prevented you from doing so? Do you feel the same way now? Have you a plan, etc.?
Sun protection, immunisation, carrying weapons; for example, have you ever needed to carry a weapon to protect yourself?
Have you ever driven a car or driven with someone who was ‘over the limit’ or high on anything?
Beliefs, religion, music, what helps them relax, etc .What are you best at?
Do you believe in another higher power? Does your family have any religious beliefs? Do you agree with them?