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Parenting & Family Research Center

Project to Learn About Youth—Mental Health

Kate Flory, James Hardin, Joshua Mann (University of MS, Medical Center), Robert Valois, and Robert McKeown

Internalizing, externalizing, and tic disorders among children and adolescents increase the risk for many negative outcomes. Reports estimate that many youth with these problems are not being identified or receiving treatment. Thus, the objectives of the CDC-funded Project to Learn about Youth – Mental Health (PLAY-MH) are threefold: 1) to describe the prevalence/co-occurrence of internalizing, externalizing, and tic disorders among youth in grades K-12 within a defined population, 2) to describe rates of current and previous mental health treatment among members of the defined population previously diagnosed with a mental disorder, and 3) to explore diversion and misuse of psychoactive medications prescribed to treat a mental disorder. We are utilizing a two-stage, stratified design for estimating the prevalence of mental health diagnoses and treatment among children and adolescents in Clarendon and Williamsburg Counties, SC (approximately 8,000 total students). Findings will be disseminated to school district personnel and the SC Department of Education, along with the scientific community.