Innovations in Preventive Mental Health Care Services for Adolescents
This descriptive study examined programs designed to provide mental health-related preventive services to at-risk adolescents. Qualitative interviews were conducted with state and local program directors and key personnel in public health and mental health departments and academic researchers who have initiated preventive services. States and local communities offer varied mental health-related preventive services for high-risk adolescents in diverse settings. Services include public education, screening, early intervention for adolescents, and educational programs for primary care providers. Funding mechanisms include state general funds, foundation grants, and Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program dollars. Evaluation is essential to maintain services and to persuade funders and other stakeholders to sustain these efforts. State and local prevention-related mental health programs have been implemented with limited funding, but significant local advocacy and community support. More extensive evaluation and cost effectiveness studies may encourage policymakers to expand services. Further data are necessary to determine how prevention-related mental health programs can best serve vulnerable youth.