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MAYSI-2 Implementation

When a facility or a statewide juvenile justice system is considering implementation of mental health screening with the MAYSI-2, there are a number of steps that administrators need to take in order to assure that the MAYSI-2 (or any other mental health screening tool) will provide effective screening. These steps involve policy and management decisions that must be accomplished before screening is implemented. Without careful attention to these steps, merely putting mental health screening in place is unlikely to serve any worthwhile purpose.

The National Youth Screening Assistance Project (NYSAP) is available to advise juvenile justice systems during this process of implementation. The following are some of the issues that the system needs to address:

  • Program issues : What are the program’s objectives for mental health screening? What benefits are expected? Will screening be used for diversion from juvenile justice processing? What costs are involved? What tool will best meet these benefit and cost objectives?

  • Personnel questions: How can management ensure staff’s acceptance of the adoption of mental health screening? How can they obtain proper training of staff for administration and use of the MAYSI-2?

  • Test administration issues: When will the MAYSI-2 be given in relation to youths’ admission to a facility? What mode of administration will be feasible (paper and pencil; Web MAYSI-2), with what benefits and costs? How will administration of the MAYSI-2 fit into the overall process of intake? How will youths be introduced to the MAYSI-2?

  • Staff responses to MAYSI-2 scores: What proportion or types of youths does the program want to identify for emergency or follow-up clinical consultations? (Is a pilot study needed to answer that question?) Using that policy choice, what MAYSI-2 scores will the program choose as the signal for program staff to obtain clinical consultation or services? Are mental health follow-up services available when youths’ MAYSI-2 scores indicate that they are needed?

  • Avoiding misuse of screening results: What protections will the program have for avoiding use of mental health screening data in the youth’s adjudication? What is the extent and limits of confidentiality regarding mental health screening data?

  • Creating a program data base: How can the program create a “profile” of mental health needs in the population of youths in their facilities? How can this profile be used to make program decisions and adjustments to improve mental health services to youths?