Mental Health Programming

Mental health programming includes screening, assessment and treatment of youth placed in DJJ facilities. Within two hours of admission to a DJJ facility, each youth is screened for mental health issues, traumatic experiences, substance use, and suicide/self-harm risk. Approximately 50% of youth are then referred for a more thorough mental health assessment by a qualified mental health professional. The goal is to identify any at-risk youth as early as possible and then to provide care to meet their basic mental health needs. This goal is accomplished through services provided to youth by a treatment team that includes master’s level mental health clinicians, psychologists, and psychiatrists.

Evidence-based mental health interventions that are delivered by Mental Health staff in DJJ secure facilities include:

  • Trauma Affect Regulation: Guide for Education & Treatment (TARGET): This is a group and individual treatment model for youth who have experienced multiple traumatic events. TARGET focuses on helping youth develop affect/emotional regulation skills, develop healthy self-soothing and self-control techniques, and address their physiological and psychological responses to trauma.
  • Collaborative Assessment and Management of Suicidality (CAMS): This approach to suicidality integrates a range of theoretical orientations (including psychodynamic, cognitive, behavioral, humanistic, existential, and interpersonal notions) into a structured clinical format emphasizing the importance of the counselor and client working together to elucidate and understand the "functional" role of suicidal thoughts and behaviors in the patient's life.
  • A New Freedom: New Freedom is a model that is based on evidence-based concepts of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), motivational enhancement (MET), motivational interviewing (MI), trans-theoretical stages of change, the social learning model and key coping and problem-solving skills for self-efficacy. New Freedom can be delivered through group and/or individual therapy.