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Massachusetts Youth Screening Instrument – Second Version (MAYSI-2)

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
  • Angry-Irritable
  • Depressed-Anxious
  • 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
  • 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.

Who Uses the MAYSI-2?

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The MAYSI-2 Project keeps a registry of MAYSI-2 users nationwide. This is made possible by the requirement that those who purchase a MAYSI-2 manual must register with the MAYSI-2 Project to permit administration of the tool.

As a consequence, the MAYSI-2 Project has a data base of MAYSI-2 registrants for the past fifteen years. Registered users of the MAYSI-2 now number over 2,000 nationwide across the 50 states. Juvenile justice detention centers top the list of users, closely followed by juvenile corrections programs and juvenile probation or diversion programs. 46 states use the MAYSI-2 statewide in all of their juvenile detention, juvenile probation, and/or juvenile corrections programs. It is also used routinely in juvenile justice programs in many nations outside the U.S., and most extensively in the Netherlands and Switzerland. Thus, in the past fifteen years, the MAYSI-2 has become the primary method nationwide for behavioral health brief screening in juvenile justice programs.

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 UMass Chan Medical School.

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Rachael Perrault, MA MAYSI-2 Helpdesk

Ms. Perrault is a Project Director II in the Law and Psychiatry Program and Implementation Science & Practice Advances Research Center (iSPARC) in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester MA. She received her MA in Forensic Psychology from Rogers Williams University in 2009 and is currently working on her Ph.D. in the Criminology and Justice Studies program at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell. Ms. Perrault runs the MAYSI-2 Helpdesk, which provides technical assistance to current juvenile justice agency-users of the MAYSI-2 and to juvenile justice programs (diversion, intake probation, detention, corrections) interested in implementing the MAYSI-2 to identify potential behavioral health needs of the youths they serve.

Ms. Perrault also has over nine years of experience managing research projects funded by the MacArthur Foundation, OJJDP, NIDA and several state agencies to examine or assist with the implementation of risk assessment for violence and reoffending and behavioral health screening among youth in juvenile justice settings.