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The Missouri Prevention Center: A Multidisciplinary Approach to Reducing the Societal Prevalence and Burden of Youth Mental Health Problems

NCJ Number
American Psychologist Volume: 74 Issue: 3 Dated: 2019 Pages: 315-328
Date Published
14 pages

This article describes the multidisciplinary contributions of the Missouri Prevention Center's (MPC's) efforts to improve the social, emotional, and behavioral health of youth, locally and nationally.


The challenges presented by the growing prevalence, burden, and unmet service needs of youth mental health problems are formidable. During the past decade, scholars and other stakeholders of the Missouri Prevention Center (MPC) have been using a prevention and implementation science approach to develop, implement, evaluate, and disseminate recommended practices in promoting youth mental health in real world contexts. The current article summarizes MPC scholarship that has addressed the individual and social-contextual risk and protective factors of youth mental health at home, school, and community. The article concludes with a description of two large-scale community projects, funded by an innovative local sales tax, that represent the systematic application of MPC scholarship and outreach. Together, these projects provide mental health screening for every youth in the MPC's county three times per year and a single point of entry into the mental health service system where any family in the county can access an evaluation and referral for their child at no cost to them. The projects serve as model demonstrations for how communities can address the challenges of youth mental health concerns through multidisciplinary collaborations. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2019