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Massachusetts Youth Screening Instrument Second Version

What is the MAYSI-2

The MAYSI-2 is a brief screening tool for identifying potential behavioral health needs of youth at entry points in juvenile justice settings (diversion, probation, detention, corrections). It was designed for easy use by juvenile justice personnel. Administration and scoring require about 10-15 minutes. Youth respond (yes/no) to 52 items, and their answers lead to scores on seven scales representing types of potential behavioral health problems. Using a set of decision rules, MAYSI-2 scores help staff identify youths who may need immediate intervention (e.g., suicide precautions) or who require further clinical assessment to verify their special mental health needs.  

Introduced 20 years ago, the MAYSI-2 has become the most widely used mental health screening tool in juvenile justice settings in the U.S. It is used in all states and in two-thirds of the states in all detention, probation, or corrections facilities. Over 100 scientific studies have been published examining the MAYSI-2’s reliability, validity, and utility in identifying behavioral health needs of youth in juvenile justice. 

What does the MAYSI-2 look like?

The MAYSI-2 is administered in either of two ways: paper-and-pencil with hand scoring, or subscription to a Web MAYSI-2, providing computer administration and scoring through our partnership with Orbis Partners. (See below for how to obtain both modes of administration.) The MAYSI-2 is available in English and Spanish. Scores contribute to six clinical scales related to substance use, anger, depression/anxiety, somatic complaints, suicide ideation, and thought disturbance. An additional scale identifies exposure to traumatic events.

For a more complete description of MAYSI-2 administration, its seven scales, their scoring, and how scores identify youth in need of further mental health attention, please see our Description of MAYSI-2 page.

How to purchase the MAYSI-2

The MAYSI-2 was developed and initially validated at the University of Massachusetts Medical School by Thomas Grisso and Richard Barnum. It is a copyrighted psychological tool that requires purchase of the MAYSI-2 Manual from Professional Resource Press.

  • Both paper-and-pencil and web-based use of MAYSI-2 require purchase of the manual as well as completion and submission of a registration form (provided in the manual).  
  • Each physical building needs to have its own MAYSI-2 manual and needs to register to use the MAYSI-2
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For paper-and-pencil administration, questionnaire and scoring forms are provided in the MAYSI-2 Manual purchased from Professional Resource Press.

There is no per-case cost for use; with purchase of the manual, unlimited photocopying of the forms by the registered owner of the manual is permitted.

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The Web MAYSI-2 for online administration and scoring is provided exclusively by subscription through Orbis Partners.

Subscription provides secure on-demand access, allowing staff entry of case demographics, the youth’s on-screen responding to items (provided visually and audio), automated scoring and a report to staff, and secure user-accessible archiving of all cases.

Where can you get assistance for use of MAYSI-2?

The MAYSI-2 Helpdesk is a resource for information, consultation, and training regarding use of the MAYSI-2. Located at the UMass Chan Medical School, the MAYSI-2 Helpdesk can be contacted Monday-Friday during the hours of 9am to 5pm EST.

Contact the Helpdesk at nysap@umassmed.edu

The Helpdesk is available to potential and current users of the MAYSI-2 and provides the following types of services: 

  • General Information
    • Answers to basic questions about MAYSI-2;
    • Making connections with the MAYSI-2’s publisher and web-based provider.
  •  Consultation
    • Assistance and advice to juvenile justice programs using MAYSI-2 when they encounter questions about its use specific to their facility or agency;
    • Advice and recommendations for development of a facility’s Policies and Procedures documents related to MAYSI-2;
    • Assistance to researchers seeking past scientific literature on MAYSI-2 or advice on research plans.
  • Training:
    • As access to “self-training” Power Point/Audio files on use of the MAYSI-2;
    • For a fee, 3-hour web-based group trainings designed specifically for the user’s facility or program.

They MAYSI-2 Helpdesk also maintains a registry of user organizations that purchase the MAYSI-2 Manual. Users are required to complete a Registration Form (provided in the manual) and submit it to the Helpdesk to receive registered approval to use the MAYSI-2.