Background: National and regional data shows that African-American youth are more likely to have a mental health diagnosis while detained, are more likely to continue displaying mental health concerns upon discharge from detention facilities and to be rearrested despite receiving treatment while detained compared to non-African-American and white youth.
Investigator-driven commentaries offer perspectives about the barriers to conducting research that aims to address mental health disparities within juvenile probation and juvenile detention. Researchers have shared that such barriers include recruiting participants, implementing investigator-driven study designs, working with facilities, and youth and guardian perceptions of the risk related to engaging in research. Poor success of clinical trials slows progress toward discovering treatments that could effectively reduce mental health disparities. Engaging youth, guardians, and facility stakeholders in collaborative research activities may help researchers overcome barriers to conducting studies that could help address mental health disparities among detained youth.
Proposed Solution to the Problem: Implementing PCOR within detention centers provides a novel opportunity to improve outcomes for African-American youth. However, given the higher degree of mistrust for the justice system, it is critical to first focus on increasing PCOR-relevant knowledge, communication, and competencies in African-American detained youth, their families, and detention center service providers.
Objectives: Overall objective: Build capacity to engage in PCOR among detained youth, their guardians, and juvenile detention service providers. Aim 1: Generate youth- and guardian-driven engagement strategies and increase knowledge of PCOR in detained youth and families. Aim 2: Increase detention service provider’s PCOR knowledge and competencies.
Activities: This project will adapt and tailor PCOR-funded engagement and knowledge tools during focus group discussions with youth, guardians, and detention staff. The modified tools will be used to train the respective target groups (i.e., detained youth, their guardians, and detention staff) in PCOR and to assess acceptability, evaluate knowledge gained, and further refine content through focus group discussions.
Projected Outcomes and Outputs: Two resources will be created. One, a toolkit of training resources for developing knowledge of PCOR with (a) youth and families and (b) detention service providers. Two, a toolkit for recruiting vulnerable populations, namely justice-involved youth and their families, in PCOR. Both resources will be housed on a web page built as an outcome product from this project.
Patient and Stakeholder Engagement Plan: An advisory council that includes previously detained youth, guardians of previously detained youth, and detention service providers will be involved in each stage of this study. They will provide all recommendations and guidance for modifying the training toolkits. They will provide language and ask questions that will determine the direction for relevant examples and scenarios to teach the concept. Advisory council members will also evaluate researcher changes to materials to ensure their feedback was captured. Furthermore, they will provide direction on the style and flow of the website that houses the tools.
Participant groups (detained youth, guardians, detention service providers) will receive training in the use of the adapted tools. Following participation, participants will engage in a focus group discussion about the tool to provide feedback and additional suggestions for modifications.
Project Collaborators: Bill Logue Juvenile Detention Center