Perceived Barriers to Mental Health Services Among Detained Youth

This bulletin is part of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s Beyond Detention series, which examines the findings of the Northwestern Juvenile Project—a large-scale longitudinal study of youth detained at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center in Chicago, IL. The authors examined youth’s perceptions of barriers to mental health services, focusing on youth with alcohol, drug, and mental health disorders. Key findings include:

  • Most frequently, youth did not receive services because they believed their problems would go away without outside help.
  • Nearly one-third of youth were not sure whom to contact or where to get help.
  • Nearly one-fifth of the sample reported difficulty in obtaining help.
  • African American and Hispanic detainees received significantly fewer services in the past compared with non-Hispanic white youth. Male detainees also received significantly fewer services in the past when compared with female detainees.

Population of focus: Youth in contact with the Juvenile Justice system

Link to resource: Perceived Barriers to Mental Health Services Among Detained Youth (pdf)

Date: 2015

Organization: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention