Massachusetts Youth Screening Instrument (MAYSI)

The MAYSI-2 is a standardized, reliable, 52-item, true-false method for screening every youth of ages 12-17 entering the juvenile justice system, in order to identify potential mental health problems in need of immediate attention.
The MAYSI-2 provides information that alerts staff to the potential for the following mental and behavioral problems:

  • Alcohol/Drug Use
  • Angry-Irritable
  • Depressed-Anxious
  • Somatic Complaints
  • Suicide Ideation
  • Thought Disturbance
  • Traumatic Experiences

The MAYSI-2 is not a diagnostic instrument. It serves as a “triage” tool for decisions about the possible need for immediate intervention, at a time (e.g., within 24-48 hours after admission to secure facilities) when little other information about a youth is available. It does not take the place of more comprehensive assessments that are needed for decisions about long-range placement or treatment planning.

Requiring less than 10 minutes to administer and using the youth’s self-report, the MAYSI-2 is feasible for use by non-clinical staff at intake probation, pretrial detention admission, and reception into a state’s youth authority facilities.

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