Adolescents in facilities undergoing substance abuse treatment do better if mental health services are also offered.
Rajeev Ramchand, PhD, of the RAND Corporation, Arlington, Virginia, and colleagues examined whether adolescents receiving substance abuse treatment at facilities offering full or partial mental health services have better 12-month outcomes in terms of substance abuse and mental health than youths at facilities without such services.
Full mental health treatment means a facility can treat all psychiatric conditions, while partial means a facility cannot treat severe of persistent mental illness.
More than 3,200 from more than 50 treatment facilities were assessed at baseline and at 12 months.
While youths at facilities offering mental health services had better substance abuse outcomes compared to those at facilities without those services, there was no difference in mental health outcomes between the two facility types, the researchers reported in Psychiatric Services in Advance. Also, there was no difference in substance abuse outcomes between facilities with full and partial mental health services.
“These preliminary findings suggest that the availability of mental health services may be a useful quality indicator for adolescent substance abuse treatment facilities,” the researchers concluded.
The study tested whether adolescents receiving substance abuse treatment at facilities offering full (can treat all psychiatric conditions) or partial (cannot treat severe or persistent mental illness) mental health services have better 12-month substance use and mental health outcomes than youths at facilities with no mental health services.
Data were collected from 3,235 adolescents who were assessed at baseline and at 12 months at one of 50 adolescent treatment facilities. Propensity scores were applied to compare client outcomes from three types of facilities (full, partial, or no mental health services); weighted linear models were estimated to examine outcomes.