At-Risk Youth Mental Health Services and Treatment

Report
A SYSTEMATIC REVIEW OF THE
LITERATURE
AT-RISK YOUTH
MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES AND TREATMENT
BY
L.Nicole Cervantes, MSW (Spring 2013)
65–70
% Have at least one diagnosable
mental health need.
61 % had a co‐occurring substance use
disorder.
 20–25 % Have serious emotional issues.
PURPOSE STATEMENT
Many
of these youth are
incarcerated for minor
/non-violent offenses or
have not been charged
with a crime.
RESEARCH QUESTIONS
What
are the barriers of mental health resources
and services for at-risk youth?
What
are the existing programs designed for atrisk youth diagnosed with mental health disorders?
What current policies and programs available for
at-risk youth diagnosed with mental health
disorders?

Research Design: Qualitative, comparative
analysis method.
 Data collection method: Reference library
professional as well as comprehensive search
of academic databases.
 Sample: 21 empirical articles on the topic
of at-risk youth and mental health services
published between 2003 and 2012 were
selected .
Analysis Plan: “PICO” method.

Culture identity and socioeconomic status are critical
components to consider when examining youth with mental
health needs, as culture shapes the way individuals view and
respond to emotional distress . Therefore, race and ethnicity are
important factors that should be included when researching
barriers at-risk youth encounter when seeking mental health
services.

The likelihood of youth receiving proper treatment and
services will increase through establishing relationships with
school counselors, healthcare and mental health professionals,
parents, and communities. A consistent commitment from social
work professionals is needed to address the diverse complexities
of youth mental health issues.

Research indicates up to two thirds of youth in the juvenile
justice system have untreated mental health disorders.
Typically, these youth have not been formally charged with a
crime, but are held in detention centers as an alternative to
effective treatment or because they have nowhere else to go.

Based on the review of research, a very small percentage of youth with diagnosable
mental health problems seek help from mental health services.

Mental health needs for this population often are neglected as detention facilities are
generally not equipped to provide adequate care to youth with mental illness.

Based on the information presented, since the 1980s, mental health programs were
either drastically cut or not renewed on the premise that the tax dollars would be
allocated more appropriately.

In the 1990s, the burden fell on local and state governments to address and manage
juvenile delinquents with mental health issues while trying to balance their local
budgets.

Dynamics such as, race, culture, demographics, and gender should be further
studied to obtain an accurate depiction of appropriate services for this
population.

Davidson, S., & Skowyra, K. (2006). Juvenile diversion: Programs for justice-involved youth with mental health
disorders. National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice. Retrieved from www.ncmhjj.com

French, R., Reardon, M., & Smith, P. (2003). Engaging with a mental health service: Perspectives of at-risk youth. Child
and Adolescent Social Work Journal, 20(6), 529-548. doi:10.1023/B:CASW.0000003142.13457.0a

Howell, E., & McFeeters, J. (2008). Children’s mental health care: Differences by race/ethnicity in urban/ rural areas.
Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, 19, 237-247.

National Association of Social Workers. (2006). Social work speaks: National Association of Social Workers policy
statements, 2006-2009. Washington, DC: NASW Press.

Puzzanchera, C. (2009). Juvenile arrests 2007. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice
and Delinquency Prevention.

Puzzanchera, C., & Kang, W. (2010). Easy access to juvenile court statistics: 1985-2007. Washington, DC: U.S.
Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Scherff, A. R., Eckert, T. L., & Miller, D. N. (2005). Youth suicide prevention: A survey of public school superintendents’
acceptability of school-based programs. Suicide and Life-Threat Behavior, 35, 154-169. doi:10.1521/suli.35.2.154.62874

U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Government Reform. (2004). Incarceration of youth who are waiting for
community mental health services in the United States. Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved from http://democrats
.oversight.house.gov/images/stories/documents/20050124112914-80845.pdf

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