Multisystemic Therapy ("MST") Continues to Transform the Lives of Troubled Youth in a Virtual Environment

Updated: April 2020 

Multisystemic Therapy (MST) continues delivering services during the COVID-19 pandemic through social distancing and telehealth methodologies such as telephone and/or video-based options. As an evidence-based practice, MST provides better outcomes for youth without the risk of infection in a facility environment.

MST treatment is designed for youth at high risk of out-of-home placement. Youth and families referred to MST are often among the most vulnerable and without treatment are likely to struggle with school, employment, relationships, drugs and alcohol, and criminal behaviors into adulthood, which has a substantial economic impact on communities.

Participation in MST is associated with decreased use of social services, inpatient mental health, and residential services. MST supports healthy family relationships between caregivers, their children and among siblings.

“The COVID-19 social distancing requirements and the use of telehealth techniques necessitate an adjustment in the standard in-home MST treatment to allow for safe delivery of MST and ensure continuity of services during this time,” said Logan Greenspan, Co-CEO of MST Services, the organization responsible for disseminating MST with clinical fidelity. Systems around the world are funding and supporting the delivery of MST under these adjusted means.

MST Services has developed detailed guidelines about adjusted approaches and distributed these to MST teams worldwide. Multisystemic Therapy experts are spending additional time with each team as they transition to operate under these guidelines. MST is drawing on the best evidence related to these adjusted approaches and is encouraged by feedback from teams based in COVID-19 ‘hotspots.’ MST Services will continuously monitor the impacts on service delivery and client outcomes and will adjust guidelines as required.

“Families experiencing social isolation may be at particular risk for mental health problems and escalated domestic situations. These families need to be able to continue with MST and not be relegated to a lower level of service during this crisis,” said Keller Strother, Co-Founder of MST Services.

Multisystemic Therapy (MST) is research-supported, evidence-based, and trauma-informed. The goal of MST is to keep families together and prevent the need for costly and ineffective out-of-home placements whenever possible. MST teams work toward this goal by providing customized interventions within the home, school, and community of at-risk youth and their families. Teams are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to assist families when they need it most.

For more information about MST treatment practices during the COVID-19 pandemic, please email us at: