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The MAYSI-2 is a brief behavioral health screening tool designed especially for juvenile justice programs and facilities.  It identifies youths 12 through 17 years old who may have important, pressing behavioral health needs.  Its primary use is in juvenile probation, diversion programs, and intake in juvenile detention or corrections. 

Administering and using the MAYSI-2 requires no training as a professional clinician, provided the user knows and attends to its proper administration according to the MAYSI-2 Manual.   

The MAYSI-2 is a self-report inventory of 52 questions (5-10 minutes).  The questions ask the youth to answer YES or NO to having experienced various thoughts, feelings or behaviors in the past few months.   Answers provide scores on 7 scales:

Alcohol/Drug Use              

Somatic Complaints
Suicide Ideation
Thought Disturbance

Traumatic Experiences

See MAYSI-2 Scales and Their Use for descriptions of the meanings of the scales and how they are used to identify youths needing immediate responses to their needs.   

Cut-off scores on each scale allow program staff to determine whether the youth may need immediate attention for suicide precaution or for assistance of a mental health professional to further assess the youth’s behavioral health needs (e.g., substance use, depression).  As a brief screening tool, the MAYSI-2 does not identify psychiatric diagnoses, and it is improper to use MAYSI-2 scores to make actual treatment decisions.

The MAYSI-2 is available for two methods of administration: paper-and-pencil, and web-based.  For descriptions, see Methods of MAYSI-2 Administration.  Both methods require purchase of a MAYSI-2 Manual and registration of purchase with the MAYSI-2 Project—see MAYSI-2 Manual Purchasing Requirements & User Registration.


A MAYSI-2 Helpdesk is available for general inquiries by users and non-users, operating 40 hours/week and maintained by the MAYSI-2 Project at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.


Click on the following for additional information about: 

  • Who Uses MAYSI-2: Describes extent of adoption of MAYSI-2 nationally and internationally;
  • Implementing the MAYSI-2: Some matters to consider when deciding how the MAYSI-2 will be used in one’s juvenile justice agency or facility;
  • MAYSI-2 Second Screening Option: Describes an optional follow-up procedure (structured interview questions) when a youth scores high on MAYSI-2 scales, to check on the potential meaning or seriousness;
  • MAYSI-2 Research Bibliography: Updated annually, a list of over 150 scientific studies using or examining the MAYSI-2, reported in professional journals, doctoral dissertations, and state-based project reports; and
  • MAYSI-2 Research Summary: A MAYSI-2 Project report reviewing all MAYSI-2 research reports through 2011, focusing on evidence about its reliability, validity, and utility.