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Mental Health Diagnoses among Juveniles —
Fiscal Year 2007

The chart above represents 1,885 juveniles who were referred to Juvenile Justice between July 1, 2006, and April 23, 2007, and who were institutionalized or had been placed on probation. Juveniles in the “primary diagnosis” category had received at least one primary diagnosis of a mental health disorder.

Mental Health Clinicians

The division’s mental health clinicians are located in many areas throughout the state, and continue to provide a crucial service to both residents and staff. Most recently, they have helped develop a suicide prevention training curriculum and worked to standardize mental health service delivery in facilities. Juvenile Justice also has collaborated with the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority to support two new mental health clinician positions at Anchorage’s McLaughlin Youth Center . The Legislature authorized this funding, recognizing that the additional clinicians will be very helpful in providing critically needed mental health services to youth in the care of the division.

Obtaining appropriate services for juveniles identified as delinquent, who also have significant mental health issues, remains a concern. Juvenile Justice now has mental health clinicians in facilities in Nome , Fairbanks , Bethel , Juneau , Anchorage and Ketchikan .

In Ketchikan the provision of crisis stabilization services by the Ketchikan Regional Youth Facility allows for youth who are experiencing sub-acute crisis events to be placed in a safe environment with trained staff. This aids the youth and the family, as well as the state, by preventing the youth from having to access more costly in-patient services located outside the community. The Ketchikan facility is currently the only state-operated regional youth facility that serves youth experiencing a crisis in an open/unlocked mental health treatment unit (Crisis Stabilization Unit or CSU) in addition to a youth detention unit.

In fiscal year 2007 the Fairbanks Regional office maintained a specialized Mental Health Juvenile Probation Officer II position who worked closely with the Superior Court at Fairbanks to incorporate a mental health proceedings track within the existing judicial structure. The resulting Mental Health Court is designed for early intervention in the supervision process, thereby avoiding escalation in the delinquent behaviors of the youth involved. The mental health probation officer is responsible for identifying and working with a specific population of youth who are experiencing mental health concerns and who have received a mental health diagnosis, with the goal of serving the youth in the community at a cost saving to the state.

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