The Interactive Screening Program (ISP)

AFSP’s Interactive Screening Program (ISP) stands as an exceptional example of how putting research into practice provides a direct path to more people finding support when they need it most.

ISP is a web-based program utilized by mental health services in settings such as schools, workplaces, and others, encouraging hesitant individuals to connect with professional support. But what may surprise you is that ISP began as a research study, and not the practical application that is now being successfully used to proactively connect students, employees and others with a mental health provider.

In 2001, two families who had recently lost a child to suicide while they were attending college reached out to AFSP, eager to gain a better understanding of suicide risk among college students. To help us learn more about what kept students from seeking help before they were in crisis, an internal work group decided to utilize the Internet – which was just beginning to flourish as a place for innovation and anonymity – to create a safe, confidential space online through which students could anonymously connect with a campus mental health professional. From these findings, we learned that this way of communicating helped to resolve students’ resistances to seeking mental health services. What followed was the development of ISP not just for research, but as a tool to save lives.

Since its official launch in 2009, ISP – now available as a customizable platform for institutions of higher education, medical and professional degree schools, hospitals and health systems, law enforcement agencies, and other workplace settings – has been implemented in:


schools and organizations


people connected
to professional help

Connecting Healthcare Professionals to Needed Support

Many health care professionals experience burnout, depression and other forms of distress, and are at an increased risk for suicide as compared to the general population. Real and perceived barriers lead many health care workers to avoid addressing their own mental health needs all too often. AFSP is dedicated to prioritizing the mental health of our frontline medical professionals and to encouraging help-seeking behaviors for mental health concerns and substance use disorders by reducing stigma, increasing resources, and having open conversations about mental health.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, ISP has connected thousands of medical students and health care professionals to mental health services and support, continuing our efforts to support the implementation of ISP in medical schools, hospitals, health systems, and physician health programs across the country.

This year, ISP was included as a recommendation for what health care organizations can do to address burnout for health workers in the U.S. Surgeon General’s Report, “Addressing Health Worker Burnout: The U.S. Surgeon General’s Advisory on Building a Thriving Health Workforce.”

The implementation of ISP at Providence Health System was highlighted in the Harvard Business Review article, “5 Ways to Restore Depleted Health Care Workers.”

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