MST-Psychiatric is an adaptation of MST that was developed specifically to treat children with serious behavior and psychiatric problems such as:
- thought disorder
- bipolar affective disorder
- destructive impulsive behavior.
In a four-year clinical trial, MST-Psychiatric was proven to be more effective than sending youth to psychiatric hospitals.
It is traumatic for children, especially those with mental-health issues, to be taken from their home and school. MST-Psychiatric works to give them the help they need in their familiar surroundings.
The goal of MST-Psychiatric is to improve mental-health symptoms, suicidal behaviors and family relations while allowing youth to spend more time in school and their home.
Teams deliver treatment in the child’s home and work closely with caregivers and parents. Therapists are with the family daily, when needed, and on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week should a crisis arise, giving advice on the phone or in the home. Treatment lasts for about six months.
Because of the complexity of issues, in addition to master’s-degree therapists, a full-time crisis case worker and a part-time child psychiatrist are added to the team. There is also additional specialized training.
- Intensive safety training associated with suicidal, homicidal or psychotic behaviors in youths
- Training to recognize and treat psychiatric problems in the child and caregivers
- Substance-abuse intervention (many caregivers have alcohol and drug problems)
MST-Psychiatric goes to the root of the child’s problems, finding the factors that contribute to them while keeping the young person with their families. In the long run, this is far better for the child, their caregivers, siblings—and costing considerably less than hospitalization.
MST-Psychiatric is listed on SAMHSA's National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP), which reviews and rates mental-health and substance-abuse interventions.