Original Article

Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research

, Volume 41, Issue 1, pp 86-92

First online:

Prior Service Utilization in Detained Youth with Mental Health Needs

  • Emily KatesAffiliated withCalifornia School of Professional Psychology, Alliant International University Email author 
  • , Emily B. GerberAffiliated withSan Francisco Department of Public Health
  • , Shannon CaseyAffiliated withCalifornia School of Professional Psychology, Alliant International University

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This study examined the prevalence of mental health needs and rates of service utilization among youth detained in a metropolitan juvenile justice system in California. Of the 345 youth in the sample, 265 (76.8 %) qualified for high or acute mental health need and 210 (60.9 %) had at least one prior contact with mental health services. No differences in mental health need were found across ethnicities; however rates of prior service utilization significantly differed (χ2 = 19.18, p < 0.001). Asian and Pacific Islander participants were less likely to have had prior contact with county services than any other ethnic group.


Juvenile justice Community mental health services Adolescence (13-17) Racial and ethnic differences