Background:  Early pregnancy loss has been linked to enduring psychological morbidity.
Aims:  This study aimed to investigate the utility of the Kessler 10 (K10) questionnaire as a brief screening instrument to identify women at risk for the development of psychiatric diagnoses three months post‐miscarriage.
Method:  Participants were 117 consecutive women presenting at a public hospital emergency department and receiving a diagnosis of miscarriage.
Main outcome measures:  K10 screen for psychological distress and the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM Disorders to determine psychiatric diagnoses.
Results:  A majority of women (81.2%) experienced elevated levels of distress initially, 24.8% in the very high range. They were not at increased risk of psychiatric diagnoses at three months compared with the general population; however, they were significantly more likely to report subsyndromal symptoms at this time compared with the general population. The baseline K10 score was the only significant predictor of distress at follow‐up (r = 0.45, P < 0.001). The receiver operating characteristic curve shows that a cut‐off of 14 on the K10 has suitable sensitivity (97%) and specificity (82%) for predicting ongoing psychological distress in women who miscarry. Conclusions:  The K10 is effective in identifying women at risk for ensuring psychological symptoms following miscarriage.