Mental Health and Substance Use Problems and Service Utilization by Transition-Age Foster Youth.
Courtney, Mark E. Charles, Pajarita.
Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago.
Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago
1313 East 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
This report examines mental health and substance use problems of and related services provided to young people participating in the California Youth Transitions to Adulthood Study (CalYOUTH). The study is following young people making the transition to adulthood from California’s foster care system in the context of the State’s new program of extended foster care. Based on data collected from 727 youth, the report describes the prevalence of current mental health and substance use disorders, receipt of mental health and substance abuse treatment services, use of psychotropic medication, and selected predictors of service receipt. Findings indicate: over two- fifths of the youth reported symptoms consistent with one of the mental health disorders assessed and nearly one-quarter reported symptoms consistent with a substance use disorder; the most prevalent mental and behavioral health disorders were major depression and dysthymia, mania and hypomania, psychotic disorders, substance abuse and dependence, and alcohol dependence; females were at higher risk for depressive disorders, PTSD, and suicidal ideation and behavior; Black youth were much less likely than other youth to have thought about or attempted suicide; sexual minority youth were much more likely to report a mental health or substance use disorder, suicidal thoughts, and attempted suicide; most youth who reported current mental health problems reported having received some type of mental health service in the past year, most commonly counseling, however, less than half of the youth that reported substance use problems had attended an alcohol or substance abuse treatment program in the past year; and nearly three in ten CalYOUTH participants reported having received psychotropic medications in the past year. Implications of the findings for service delivery in California are discussed. 4 tables and 19 references.
foster adolescents; independent living; substance abuse; mental disorders; behavior problems; mental health services; incidence; suicide; depression