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MAYSI-2 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The following contains answers to MAYSI-2 users' frequently asked questions. The following FAQ's are organized into the following three categories:

For what age is the MAYSI-2 normed?

The MAYSI-2 can be used to screen youth between the ages of 12-17.

How many questions are in the MAYSI-2 Questionnaire?

It contains 52 Yes/No questions.

How long does the MAYSI-2 take to administer?

About 10 minutes.

How long does the MAYSI-2 take to score?

About 3 minutes.

How is the MAYSI-2 administered?

The instructions are explained to the youth and the youth is left alone to circle his/her answers to the 52 items.

Is there a Spanish version of the MAYSI-2?

Yes, a Spanish translation of the MAYSI-2 Questionnaire is included in the MAYSI-2 manual.

What are Second Screening Forms?

Second Screening forms are used as a follow-up for high MAYSI-2 scorers. These forms contain questions to ask the youth to get a clearer picture of the youth's symptoms. These forms are contained in the MAYSI-2 manual.

How many scales does the MAYSI-2 contain?

7 for Boys and 6 for girls. Thought Disturbance isn't scored for girls. When the MAYSI-2 was originally developed, analyses of girls’ responses to the 52 items did not find a cluster of items that clearly represented Thought Disturbance for girls.

Do you need to have any special qualifications to administer the MAYSI-2?

No particular professional degree or specialized clinical training is required to administer the MAYSI-2. However, users must carefully read the MAYSI-2 manual and if possible receive some training from an experienced MAYSI-2 user. If you do not have an experienced MAYSI-2 administrator in your facility, then you should read the MAYSI-2 Manual, read our website material, and contact NYSAP if you have any questions before you begin using the tool.

When should the MAYSI-2 be administered?

There are two “when” questions about the use of the MAYSI-2 in pretrial detention centers.

  1. When should it be given in relation to the point in time when youths are admitted to a facility?
  2. When should that routine be over-ruled?


First, the recommended time for giving the MAYSI-2 in detention is within a few hours after youths have been admitted. Typically the best time is 2 to 4 hours after admission. Why is that? While observing detention centers nationwide, we've learned that the first hour typically is occupied with a variety of identification and health screening questions, safety issues, detention pod assignments, description of the rules, and so forth. Putting a youth in front of the MAYSI-2 in this relatively intense and sometimes chaotic event probably is not the best time for thoughtful answers to questions about one’s feelings and behaviors. A good time for the MAYSI-2 is right at the end of that process—perhaps when a youth has been assigned to a pod, has seen where he or she will be tonight, and is able to take a deep breath. Waiting much beyond 2 to 4 hours after admission to the facility, however, runs risks of a youth having an important emergency mental health need that goes undetected until the youth actually acts out that need.

Similarly, detention policy should address whether young people who are merely being transported from one detention center to another need to be administered the MAYSI-2 on the second admission. One might think that it would do little harm. But there is some evidence that youths can get the MAYSI-2 too often—that is, their answers change when they receive it over and over in a short period of time. Moreover, usually the previous placement will know of the youth’s special mental health needs and can inform the receiving placement about them—e.g., putting them on alert regarding past suicide risk status which many detention centers would want to reinstate upon a youth’s movement to any new setting.

Finally, exceptions are often made for the youth who is being admitted to a detention center during the hours after midnight and before the first day shift. Fatigue associated with that time of night might influence you youths’ respond to a screening tool.

Does the SI scale predict future suicide attempts?

We do not know how well the SI scale (or any other scale) predicts suicidal behavior. In fact, this may never be known. When a youth obtains a high score on a suicide potential scale, it would be unethical to simply stand by and watch to see if the youth attempts suicide. One must intervene to prevent a suicidal behavior from occurring, and therefore one can never know whether the scale “accurately” predicted suicide. For this reason, truly predictive studies for any suicide potential scale are quite rare. However, there have been two studies that have examined the relation of suicidal behavior to SI scale scores on the MAYSI-2 when youths enter juvenile justice facilities. Both of them examined past suicide attempts. One found a significantly higher prevalence of past suicide attempts (recent and lifetime) or past suicidal thoughts, for youths scoring above the SI Caution cutoff at intake. This suggests that the SI scale has value in helping to identify youths whose histories of past suicide attempts—often not known to staff at intake—indicating that they are at higher risk for future suicide attempts. Current evidence indicates that the SI scale is valid for this purpose.

Does each facility in a system or state need to register?

Yes. Each physical building needs to have its own MAYSI-2 manual and needs to register to use the MAYSI-2 with NYSAP. This is done by signing the MAYSI-2 registration form located in the manual and faxing it to NYSAP.

Do I need to register each person that will be using the MAYSI-2?

No. Only one person per facility should register. This person can then oversee MAYSI-2 use at the facility.

Can the same person register for more than one facility?

No. One person can register for one facility. The person who registers for the facility must be physically located at that facility to oversee MASYI-2 use. If you are supervising MAYSI-2 use, but are not at the facility, you can give NYSAP your contact information separately, so that NYSAP will contact you with questions, but you cannot be the registrant.

Do I need to register the MAYSI-2 manual if I registered MAYSIWARE?

Yes. You need to send in a registration form from your MAYSI-2 manual before you can register MAYSIWARE. You will then need to send in the registration form for MAYSIWARE (located in the software). You must have a MAYSI-2 manual and be registered to use the MAYSI-2 before you will be allowed to register MAYSIWARE.

What About False Positives?

A common concern of many programs that use brief screening instruments is what test developers call “false positives.” An instrument’s cut-off score on a good suicide screening scale might identify most of the youths who are really at risk, but in doing so, it might also identify many youths who score above the cut-off yet are not seriously suicidal. This is a problem because when youths are over the cut-off score on a MAYSI-2 scale, such as Suicide Ideation, many juvenile facilities place all of these youth on suicide watch or refer them for costly clinical evaluations.


We’ve often been asked by MAYSI-2 users whether there is a way to reduce “false positives,” thereby reducing the number and additional cost of those unnecessary clinical referrals. There is. You can instruct staff members who give the MAYSI-2 to ask two or three follow-up questions whenever a youth scores above the Caution or Warning cut-off on a scale. (Some programs do this just for two or three scales they are most concerned about—for example, Suicide Ideation, Depressed-Anxious, and/or Thought Disturbance.) Typically this is done immediately after scoring the MAYSI-2, and before deciding what response to make in terms of referral or further evaluation. For example, imagine that a youth answers “yes” to two or three of the Suicide Ideation items, putting her over the Warning cut-off. Sometimes this happens because the youth was feeling that way sometime in the past few weeks (as suggested by the MAYSI-2 instructions), rather than right now. Simply asking a follow-up question about whether she feels that way now, or whether she said “yes” to the item because she felt that way some time in the past, helps staff to make a judgment about whether the threat at the moment is serious. One should not ignore the youth’s report that she felt that way in the past and not now. But knowing this helps one to decide whether or not a suicide watch, for example, is needed at the moment.

We’ve often been asked by MAYSI-2 users whether there is a way to reduce “false positives,” thereby reducing the number and additional cost of those unnecessary clinical referrals. There is. You can instruct staff members who give the MAYSI-2 to ask two or three follow-up questions whenever a youth scores above the Caution or Warning cut-off on a scale. (Some programs do this just for two or three scales they are most concerned about—for example, Suicide Ideation, Depressed-Anxious, and/or Thought Disturbance.) Typically this is done immediately after scoring the MAYSI-2, and before deciding what response to make in terms of referral or further evaluation. For example, imagine that a youth answers “yes” to two or three of the Suicide Ideation items, putting her over the Warning cut-off. Sometimes this happens because the youth was feeling that way sometime in the past few weeks (as suggested by the MAYSI-2 instructions), rather than right now. Simply asking a follow-up question about whether she feels that way now, or whether she said “yes” to the item because she felt that way some time in the past, helps staff to make a judgment about whether the threat at the moment is serious. One should not ignore the youth’s report that she felt that way in the past and not now. But knowing this helps one to decide whether or not a suicide watch, for example, is needed at the moment.

The MAYSI-2 manual includes a set of “Second Screening” forms for each of the MAYSI-2 scales. These provide questions that staff can ask to follow up on youths’ MAYSI-2 responses in the manner described in the above example.

Another scale on which Second Screening is often important is Thought Disturbance. When you ask some youths about their high scores on Thought Disturbance items about “seeing things others don’t see,” sometimes second screening reveals that they meant “when I am high.” This may indicate a problem—drug use—but suggests a lower likelihood that they are referring to hallucinations related to thought disturbance.

Caution: There is nothing magical about these second screening questions. They will not guarantee that youths are or are not at risk. They simply give staff members a bit more information with which to judge whether there is a need for immediate, emergency intervention. Second Screening forms are contained in the 2006 MAYSI-2 manual and within MAYSIWARE.

Can the MAYSI-2 be Used Outside of the Juvenile Justice System?

We are often asked whether the MAYSI-2 is appropriate for use with youths in programs and facilities that are not part of the juvenile justice system—for example, child mental health clinics, community substance use programs, or public school counseling services. There are several reasons that we hesitate to recommend the MAYSI-2 for those settings.

First, the MAYSI-2 was normed on youths in juvenile justice facilities, so that we do not know whether the “cut-off scores” on the MAYSI-2 would have the same meaning with different groups of youths in other settings. Second, the value of MAYSI-2 screening in clinical settings is usually less than in juvenile justice settings. The MAYSI-2 was designed for use especially by non-clinicians to decide which youths to refer for assessment of possible mental health problems. In contrast, we presume that when youths enter clinical settings, there is less need for a tool that determines whether they have mental health problems. Typically they do (or they would not have gotten there). Moreover, unlike many juvenile justice settings, clinical settings have clinicians at the front door who assess every youth, so that there is little need in clinical settings for a screening tool to determine whether a youth needs to be assessed.

Finally, there are far better instruments than the MAYSI-2 for the more focused screening sometimes required in clinical settings (e.g., specifically for substance abuse or for trauma). Although some of these focused screens are used in juvenile justice settings, usually they have been developed with child clinical populations specifically for use in community clinical settings. For a review of many of these tools, see Mental Health Screening and Assessment in Juvenile Justice edited by Grisso, Vincent, and Seagrave.


MAYSIWARE Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

PLEASE NOTE: MAYSIWARE is no longer being sold as of July 1, 2017 due to the creation of the Web MAYSI-2

What is MAYSIWARE?

MAYSIWARE is the desktop software version of the MAYSI-2.

Who should I contact if I have questions about MAYSIWARE?

For all MAYSIWARE and MAYSI-2 questions, you should contact NYSAP at nysap@umassmed.edu.

How do I purchase MAYSIWARE?

MAYSIWARE can no longer be purchased as of July 1, 2017.

This desktop platform of the MAYSI-2 has been replaced by a web-based platform called Web MAYSI-2.

How do I register MAYSIWARE?

First you need to make sure that you registered your MAYSI-2 manual by faxing the yellow registration form to NYSAP. After you send in your MAYSI-2 registration, you can then register MAYSIWARE.

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Install the software.
  2. Click on the Registration Form button.
  3. Scroll to the Registration page.
  4. Fill in the form.
  5. Submit the form via the internet by clicking the "Email Completed Form" button.

How do I obtain a serial number in order to use MAYSIWARE?

You must follow the registration instructions listed above and then you will need to update your software (use trial version - admin options-check for updates). After the update, you must then obtain the product key for the computer (under register button). You must update each computer and then obtain a product key for each computer and e-mail all your product keys to NYSAP at nysap@umassmed.edu. NYSAP will e-mail you serial numbers within 1 business day of receiving all registration materials, but you must make sure that you have sent to NYSAP both your MAYSI-2 and MAYSIWARE registration forms and your product keys. The MAYSIWARE registration form is located in the software under the Registration Form button, and the MAYSI-2 registration form is located in the MAYSI-2 manual (3-ring binder).

How many computers can I install MAYSIWARE on in my one physical building?

Our licensing and technical support agreement allows MAYSIWARE to be installed on up to 30 computers within one building. No more than 30 serial numbers will be given to one building.

The MAYSIWARE Registration Form asks for a MAYSIWARE/ MAYSI-2 Manual ID#. Where can I find this?

For the original MAYSIWARE this ID number can be found on the inside front cover of your MAYSIWARE User's Guide. The ID for MAYSIWARE 4.0 can be found on the envelope containing the software disk.

I only have one facility, but the facility has two buildings that will be using MAYSIWARE. How do I go about registering my facility?

Our registration process requires that you purchase a MAYSI-2 manual and a copy of MAYSIWARE for each physical building, even if they are part of the same organization or facility. You will then need to register each of these buildings individually. Each building is allowed to have multiple computers with no further cost.

I would like to register a facility or agency that has only one physical building, but our people go out and work in the field and we would like to put MAYSIWARE on all their laptops (i.e., people's homes, etc.). How many copies of the MAYSI-2 manual and of MAYSIWARE do I need to purchase?

If your agency/facility has only one building and all the computers are housed in this one building and all employees work out of this building, then you only need one copy of the MAYSI-2 manual and MAYSIWARE. It should be noted, however, that if the employees also work in other physical facilities (not people's homes), these other facilities will need to purchase copies of the MAYSI-2 manual and MAYSIWARE and be registered users as well.

Does MAYSIWARE have English & Spanish versions of the MAYSI-2?

Yes. The Youth can choose to take an English or Spanish version. Both versions have an auditory component, so the youth not only sees the questions in English or Spanish, but can also hear them in his/her chosen language.

Can I export data from MAYSIWARE?

Yes. Anyone with access to the Administrator Options screen can export data in SPSS or Microsoft Excel formats. Names of individuals will not be exported, but you have the ability to customize other data to export along with the date range of data to export.

  1. Open MAYSIWARE
  2. Click on Administrator Options
  3. Click on Data Control
  4. Click on Export to SPSS or Excel
  5. In the first date box, select the beginning date for data to export.
  6. In the second date box select the end date for the data you wish to export.
  7. All the boxes in the list of data fields should be checked. If you do not wish to export all of the data, uncheck the boxes of the data fields you do not wish to export.
  8. Select OK
  9. If you do not have SPSS* or Excel it will ask you a location to save the data, save the data to somewhere you will be able to find it (like the desktop). Please do not attempt to open the file as it could corrupt the file.
  10. If you do have SPSS or Excel, SPSS or Excel will open with the exported data. Select to save the database to your desktop and then close the SPSS or Excel file and you will remain in MAYSIWARE.

Can I still export data if I do not have Excel or SPSS?

Yes. If you do not have SPSS or Excel, you can still export the data and save it as an SPSS or Excel file. But you will need to transfer the file to a computer that does have SPSS or Excel in order to view the exported data.

Are the Second Screening Forms included in MAYSIWARE?

Yes.Second Screening forms will print out with the report and you can enter in the second screening answers at a later date and save them in the youth's file.

What type of computer specifications do I need to run MAYSIWARE?

Most, if not all, computers will easily meet these minimum system requirements:

  • For MAYSIWARE 4.0:
  • Processor: Pentium 4 or Higher
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM (minimum)
  • Operating System: Windows XP SP3 (32-bit only), Vista (SP1 or newer; 32-bit or 64-bit), or 7 (with or without any service packs; 32-bit or 64-bit)
  • Disk Space: 10 GB Free
  • Min Resolution: 800x600
  • Internet access required to install and update

Is MAYSIWARE Compatible with Windows 10?

No. MAYSIWARE 4.0 is only compatible with Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7. It will NOT work on Windows 10 or later versions.

Please see the new Web MAYSI-2 for Windows 10 compatibility

If I had the original version of MAYSIWARE and recently upgraded to MAYSIWARE 4.0, can my old data be transferred into the new MAYSIWARE database?

Yes. For detailed instructions please email us at nysap@umassmed.edu

Can I export my MAYSIWARE data to Excel or SPSS?

Yes. You can do this easily! Just follow these simple steps.

  1. Open MAYSIWARE
  2. Click on Administrator Options
  3. Click on Data Control
  4. Click on Export to SPSS or Excel
  5. In the first date box, select the beginning date for data to export.
  6. In the second date box select the end date for the data you wish to export.
  7. All the boxes in the list of data fields should be checked. If you do not wish to export all of the data, uncheck the boxes of the data fields you do not wish to export.
  8. Select OK
  9. If you do not have SPSS* or Excel it will ask you a location to save the data, save the data to somewhere you will be able to find it (like the desktop). Please do not attempt to open the file as it could corrupt the file.
  10. If you do have SPSS or Excel, SPSS or Excel will open with the exported data. Select to save the database to your desktop and then close the SPSS or Excel file and you will remain in MAYSIWARE.

So how can I compare and analyze my old data with the new MAYSIWARE data?

That's easy! First, import your old MAYSI-2 data into an Excel or SPSS file. Now export your MAYSIWARE data into an Excel or SPSS file (done by the click of a button!). MAYSIWARE has a lot more data fields so you should import the old MAYSI-2 data into the MAYSIWARE file and then you can compare and analyze your combined data.

Can I integrate MAYSIWARE into our facility's software system or alter MAYSIWARE in any way? Can MAYSIWARE be used on a WAN?

No, we will not allow MAYSIWARE to be integrated into systems or altered in any way. MAYSIWARE data can be easily exported to SPSS or Excel (by the click of a button in MAYSIWARE) and sites can import the exported MAYSIWARE data into their systems if they so choose, but they may not extract data from MAYSIWARE or alter MAYSIWARE in any way.

No, MAYSIWARE cannot be used on a WAN. It is a local database software and must be installed on each computer within a physical building and can only be networked locally (within the 1 physical building) according to our MAYSIWARE licensing agreements.

My computer has SQL server on it already, can I just incorporate MAYSIWARE into the same SQL database I am already using?

No. SQL Server 2005 allows for multiple instances of the software to be installed on the same machine, as long as they are each named differently. You can install MAYSIWARE on a computer that already has SQL Server, but you must keep the database that is created by the MAYSIWARE setup or MAYSIWARE will not recognize it and MAYSIWARE will fail to work.

Question

Answer

Can I install MAYSIWARE onto a server?

No. Do not install MAYSIWARE onto your server and try to get other computers to connect to the software. MAYSIWARE was designed to function as a local database and for all data to remain on the local database. If you attempt to put MAYSIWARE on a server, this will cause problems with MAYSIWARE. If you do attempt to do this, we will not be able to offer you technical assistance; you will need to resolve the problems that arise on your own. So, please install MAYSIWARE as specified in the MAYSIWARE User's Guide, meaning install on each computer and network them locally through MAYSIWARE if you wish to do so. MAYSIWARE acts as its own local database server. You must install MAYSIWARE on all computers and if you wish to localy network them (within 1 physical building), one of the computers must act as a "server" and the others will act as "clients". Please see the MAYSIWARE User's Guide for further instructions.

Can I network MAYSIWARE across multiple facilities in my state?

No. MAYSIWARE can only be networked locally, within a physical building. We designed the software so it would function as a local database for a variety of reasons. We realize that some agencies may be disappointed by this, but if you want to analyze data from all of your state facilities at a later date, it is really easy to do so. All you need to do is have each facility click on the export data option and the data can be exported into an SPSS or Excel file. The data will be formatted and coded. The facility can also select what data to export, but the name and DOB will stripped from the exported data. Each facility can then e-mail the file to the state agency and the state agency can easily combine all the files from each facility as they will all have the same data fields and be formatted in the same way. The state facility can then easily analyze the data. Another option is that the facilities can print out their site norms and then send these to the state agency and the state agency can look at the site norms for each facility.

If you do not think MAYSIWARE is right for your facility, you can continue to use the paper and pencil version, or purchase our newly developed Web MAYSI-2.

I am having trouble with my installation, what can I do?

If your installation rolls back and won't complete, then either your antivirus or security settings are preventing the full install of MAYSIWARE and/or SQL. Check to see if you have a firewall or antivirus software blocking the installation. You may have to temporarily disable your antivirus for installation.

I am having trouble with networking what can I do?

First, make sure that an IS/IT person is networking as they need to make sure to secure your network so that SQL does not make it vulnerable to viruses. If you are an IS/IT person and are having problems with your MAYSIWARE "server" computer connecting to your MAYSIWARE "client" computers, then make sure you do not have a firewall or antivirus software blocking the clients from connecting with the server. If you have Windows XP SP2, you will most likely have to open a port in your firewall to allow MAYSIWARE/SQL server to get through. If you go to Database Manager you will see the port number listed. These instructions are contained in the MAYSIWARE User's Guide, so please follow the instructions listed in the Guide. If a facility decides to network, they are doing so at their own risk and it is up to the facility to trouble-shoot and to get the MAYSIWARE network up and running, we will not offer assistance in trouble-shooting networking difficulties, that is completely up to your facility.

If I don't think my install went right can I uninstall and reinstall MAYSIWARE?

DO NOT UNINSTALL!! Uninstalling/Reinstalling can be tricky because of SQL Server 2005, so there is no reason to do this. If you are having trouble with your installation please contact nysap@umassmed.edu, please do not uninstall and reinstall as this may cause greater problems.

What if I get an error message while using MAYSIWARE?

First, you should check for updates and see if downloading the updates fixes your problem (someone with administrator rights to the computer will need to do this). If the update does not fix your problem, then e-mail nysap@umassmed.edu with the exact details of how this error appeared (what you did to get it), if you have received the error more than once, and what the error says. We will need as much information as possible to help you resolve the problem you are having.

I keep receiving an ODBC error – cannot connect to SQL database. Why am I receiving this error and how can I fix it?

There are a few possible reasons why you are receiving this error.

You will need to troubleshoot to determine which of the following reasons is causing you to receive this error:

  1. If you are trying to network your computers and you receive this error on a client computer, check the following:
    1. make sure you have installed MAYSIWARE on the computer that is acting as the local database server.
    2. make sure that the computer that is acting as the local database is turned on and that SQL is running ( you should have the SQL box in lower right hand corner of server computer with the green arrow)
    3. Make sure XP SP2 firewall port is open (see MAYSIWARE User’s Guide for instructions for opening the port or turn the Windows firewall is off) on both client and server computers (if you have XP SP2 on these computers)
    4. You can try resetting the client database by clicking c:/programfiles/maysiware/tools/setup.exe and then select network database.
    5. If none of those options work, make sure that the facility does not have other security settings that is blocking the client from accessing the server.
  1. If you are not going to network your computers and you receive this message on your local database computer, you will need to figure out what happened:
    1. One possible explanation is that you did not install the software as a local database and also configure it as a local database. If you did not do both of these things, then MAYSIWARE thinks you are trying to set up a client computer and SQL was never installed on the computer.
    2. During installation, the MAYSIWARE install rolled back (it would tell you it was rolling back and it would make you click OK). If the MAYSIWARE installation rolled back, this would have occurred if your antivirus software blocked the install or other security settings did. You can try disabling your antivirus and try to install and see if it works. If not, you will have to troubleshoot your other security settings
    3. You installed correctly, but SQL is either not open or is stopped. Try restarting your computer and see if the SQL icon pops up on your desktop tray next to the time clock. If it does, make sure it has the green play arrow. If instead it has a red stop sign, turn the SQL to play.
    4. If none of these solutions resolve your problem, then e-mail NYSAP at nysap@umassmed.edu and explain your problem in detail and also what you have done to troubleshoot your problem to this point.