Youth Mental and Behavioral Health Resources

Web-Based Resources (Clearinghouses, Packet, Factsheet)

National Center for Mental Health Promotion and Youth Violence Prevention

The National Center for Mental Health Promotion and Youth Violence Prevention provides training and technical assistance to Safe Schools/Healthy Students and Project LAUNCH grantees funded by the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Center staff work with school districts and communities as they plan, implement, and sustain initiatives that foster resilience, promote mental health, and prevent youth violence and mental and behavioral disorders.

Teen Screen: National Center for Mental Health Checkups at Columbia University

Support and Resources: TeenScreen National Center offers free tools and materials to health care, educational and community-based professionals to screen for depression and mental illness in adolescents.  Click here for more information.

The Center for Mental Health in Schools at UCLA

An introductory packet on Conduct and Behavior Problems: Intervention and Resources for School Aged Youth. In this introductory packet, the range of conduct and behavior problems are described using fact sheets and the classification scheme from the American Pediatric Association.

National Center for Children in Poverty

The National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) is one of the nation’s leading public policy center dedicated to promoting the economic security, health, and well-being of America’s low-income families and children. NCCP uses research to inform policy and practice with the goal of ensuring positive outcomes for the next generation. We promote family-oriented solutions at the state and national levels.

This factsheet for policymakers includes current systemic challenges to mental healthcare and recommendations for change.

Scholarly Articles (please click on titles to access full text PDFs):

A national study of the impact of outpatient mental health services for children in longterm foster care

This study utilizes data from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-being (NSCAW), the first nationally representative study of child welfare in the United States to estimate the impact of outpatient mental health services on behavior problems of children in long-term foster care.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students: Perceived social support in the high school environment

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth continue to face extreme discrimination within the school environment. Existing literature suggests that these youth are at high risk for a number of health problems.

Racial Differences in the Mental Health Needs and Service Utilization of Youth in the Juvenile Justice System

Mental health placement rates by the juvenile justice system differ by race. However, it is unknown whether mental health needs differ by race. This study attempted to investigate potential differences in mental health needs and service utilization among Caucasian, African American, and Hispanic juvenile justice involved youth. A stratified random sample of 473 youth petitioned, adjudicated, and incarcerated from 1995-1996 was examined using a standard chart review protocol and the Childhood Severity of Psychiatric Illness measure for mental health needs. Significant and unique mental health needs were demonstrated for all racial groups. African American youth demonstrated the greatest level of needs. Minority status indicated significantly lower rates of mental health service utilization. Minority youth in the juvenile justice system are most at risk for underserved mental health needs. Based on the current data, it can be inferred that the first contact with the state’s child and adolescent serving system, which includes the juvenile justice and mental health sectors, appears to be through the juvenile justice sector for many minority youth with delinquency problems.

 The Family Empowerment Program: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Working with Multi-Stressed Urban Families

The family empowerment program (FEP) is a multi-systemic family therapy program that partners multi-stressed families with an interdisciplinary resource team while remaining attached to a “traditional” mental health clinic. The rationale for this model is that far too often, families presenting at community mental health centers struggle with multiple psychosocial forces, for example problems with housing, domestic violence, child care, entitlements, racism, substance abuse, and foster care, as well as chronic medical and psychiatric illnesses, that exacerbate symptoms and impact traditional service delivery and access to effective treatment. Thus, families often experience fragmented care and are involved with multiple systems with contradictory and competing agendas. As a result, services frequently fail to harness the family’s inherent strengths. The FEP partners the family with a unified team that includes representatives from Entitlements Services, Family Support and Parent Advocacy, and Clinical Staff from the agency’s Outpatient Mental Health Clinic practicing from a strength-based family therapy perspective. The goal of the FEP is to support the family in achieving their goals. This is accomplished through co-construction of a service plan that addresses the family’s needs in an efficient and coherent manner emphasizing family strengths and competencies and supporting family self-sufficiency.

Violence Prevention and Students with Disabilities: Perspectives from the Field of Youth Violence Prevention

The same factor may have a different impact depending on the age of the child. […]the developmental stage must be considered when identifying and attempting to intervene on risk and protective factors. […]Henry, Farrell, Schoeny, Tolan, and Dymnicki (2011) argue that schools can build a culture that supports nonviolence by fostering norms that support nonviolence; improving interpersonal climate – including teacherstudent relationships and student-student relationships; and responding appropriately to violence and to settings that provide opportunities for violence. Because norms are maintained through feedback mechanisms among students, one of the most important things teachers can do is attend not only to those directly involved in bullying or fighting, but also to the bystanders.\n Thus, there is a need to understand specific patterns of risk and protection for subpopulations to better inform intervention and prevention efforts.

Neighborhood Environment and Internalizing Problems in African American Children

This study examines gender differences in the association between environment and internalizing problems in a sample of predominately African American schoolchildren. Internalizing problems was assessed using the Youth Self Report. Violence and alcohol and other drug (AOD) exposure subscales were created using observational assessments of neighborhood blocks. Logistic regression models were used to assess the relationship between neighborhood environment and internalizing problems. For each AOD item present on the block the odds of internalizing problems among girls increased by 17% (OR = 1.17, CI: 1.01, 1.35, P = 0.039). The relationship was not significant among boys. Violence exposure did not predict internalizing problems in boys or girls. These preliminary findings suggest that primary school-aged girls’ emotional well-being is more negatively impacted by deleterious environments. Future investigations will examine the relationship between deleterious neighborhood environments and internalizing problems as the children age into adolescence.

Mental Health and Substance Abuse Characteristics Among a Clinical Sample of Urban American Indian/Alaska Native Youths in a Large California Metropolitan Area: a Descriptive Study

This study analyzes descriptive data among a clinical sample of American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) youths receiving mental health services in a large California metropolitan area. Among 118 urban AI/AN youths, mood disorders (41.5%) and adjustment disorder (35.4%) were the most common mental health diagnoses. Alcohol (69.2%) and marijuana (50.0%) were the most commonly used substances. Witnessing domestic violence (84.2%) and living with someone who had a substance abuse problem (64.7%) were reported. The majority of patients demonstrated various behavior and emotional problems. Enhancing culturally relevant mental health and substance abuse treatment and prevention programs for urban AI/AN youth is suggested.

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