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MAYSI-2 Administration Questions
  For what age is the MAYSI-2 normed?
The MAYSI-2 can be used to screen youth between the ages of 12-17.
  How many questions are in the MAYSI-2 Questionnaire?
  It contains 52 Yes/No questions.
  How long does the MAYSI-2 take to administer?
  About 10 minutes.
  How long does the MAYSI-2 take to score?
  About 3 minutes.
  How is the MAYSI-2 administered?
The instructions are explained to the youth and the youth is left alone to circle his/her answers to the 52 items.
  Is there a Spanish version of the MAYSI-2?
Yes, a Spanish translation of the MAYSI-2 Questionnaire is included in the MAYSI-2 manual.
  What are Second Screening Forms?
Second Screening forms are used as a follow-up for high MAYSI-2 scorers. These forms contain questions to ask the youth to get a clearer picture of the youth's symptoms. These forms are contained in the MAYSI-2 manual.
  How many scales does the MAYSI-2 contain?
7 for Boys and 6 for girls.  Thought Disturbance isn't scored for girls.  When the MAYSI-2 was originally developed, analyses of girls’ responses to the 52 items did not find a cluster of items that clearly represented Thought Disturbance for girls.
Do you need to have any special qualifications to administer the MAYSI-2?
No particular professional degree or specialized clinical training is required to administer the MAYSI-2. However, users must carefully read the MAYSI-2 manual and if possible receive some training from an experienced MAYSI-2 user.  If you do not have an experienced MAYSI-2 administrator in your facility, then you should read the MAYSI-2 Manual, read our website material, and contact NYSAP if you have any questions before you begin using the tool.
  When should the MAYSI-2 be administered?
There are two “when” questions about the use of the MAYSI-2 in pretrial detention centers.  First, when should it be given in relation to the point in time when youths are admitted to a facility?  And second, when should that routine be over-ruled?

First, the recommended time for giving the MAYSI-2 in detention is within a few hours after youths have been admitted. Typically the best time is 2 to 4 hours after admission. Why is that? While observing detention centers nationwide, we've learned that the first hour typically is occupied with a variety of identification and health screening questions, safety issues, detention pod assignments, description of the rules, and so forth.  Putting a youth in front of the MAYSI-2 in this relatively intense and sometimes chaotic event probably is not the best time for thoughtful answers to questions about one’s feelings and behaviors.  A good time for the MAYSI-2 is right at the end of that process—perhaps when a youth has been assigned to a pod, has seen where he or she will be tonight, and is able to take a deep breath. Waiting much beyond 2 to 4 hours after admission to the facility, however, runs risks of a youth having an important emergency mental health need that goes undetected until the youth actually acts out that need.

Second, are there exceptions to that rule? Of course there may be, and detention centers should include such exceptions in their policies. For example, if a youth is in a rage or is so confused that he or she can hardly sit down and take pencil (or computer keyboard) in hand, staying to the routine of “within 2-4 hours” should be set aside. Staff members are already quite aware of the youth’s current mental state, a MAYSI-2 under conditions of rage would probably have no valid meaning, and delaying the MAYSI-2 until a few hours after the youth stabilizes might be of much greater value, even if that is 24-48 hours after admission.

Similarly, detention policy should address whether young people who are merely being transported from one detention center to another need to be administered the MAYSI-2 on the second admission. One might think that it would do little harm. But there is some evidence that youths can get the MAYSI-2 too often—that is, their answers change when they receive it over and over in a short period of time.  Moreover, usually the previous placement will know of the youth’s special mental health needs and can inform the receiving placement about them—e.g., putting them on alert regarding past suicide risk status which many detention centers would want to reinstate upon a youth’s movement to any new setting.

Finally, exceptions are often made for the youth who is being admitted to a detention center during the hours after midnight and before the first day shift.  Fatigue associated with that time of night might influence you youths’ respond to a screening tool.
  Does the SI scale predict future suicide attempts?
We do not know how well the SI scale (or any other scale) predicts suicidal behavior. In fact, this may never be known. When a youth obtains a high score on a suicide potential scale, it would be unethical to simply stand by and watch to see if the youth attempts suicide. One must intervene to prevent a suicidal behavior from occurring, and therefore one can never know whether the scale “accurately” predicted suicide. For this reason, truly predictive studies for any suicide potential scale are quite rare. However, there have been two studies that have examined the relation of suicidal behavior to SI scale scores on the MAYSI-2 when youths enter juvenile justice facilities. Both of them examined past suicide attempts. One found a significantly higher prevalence of past suicide attempts (recent and lifetime) or past suicidal thoughts, for youths scoring above the SI Caution cutoff at intake. This suggests that the SI scale has value in helping to identify youths whose histories of past suicide attempts—often not known to staff at intake—indicating that they are at higher risk for future suicide attempts. Current evidence indicates that the SI scale is valid for this purpose.