Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders (2018)

Many juvenile justice systems across the country are overwhelmed by the number of young people suffering from behavioral health problems—meaning mental health disorders, substance use problems, or both. When these systems are not adequately equipped to deal with these youth, their problems—and their behavior—can get worse. At the same time, it must be kept in mind that using the juvenile justice system to solve mental health and substance abuse problems harms youth unnecessarily, impeding their ability to progress in school and in the workforce. [Here], you’ll find an overview of salient issues and links to information on each one, as well as the most recent research, cutting edge reforms, model policies, best practices, links to experts, and toolkits to take action.