The program initially began by serving elementary-age students in Northern Adirondack, Saranac and AuSable Valley Central schools in Clinton County and Moriah and Ticonderoga Central schools in Essex County.
Since then, the program has expanded to include students in middle schools and high schools in those districts.
Peru Central School and the Beekmantown Central School main building in Clinton County and Crown Point Central School in Essex County have begun the process to incorporate mental-health clinics on their campuses, as well.
“The number of children receiving services on those campuses (now being served) has been tremendous,” Goldenberg said. “There are about 80 students who may not have been getting mental-health services otherwise.
Transportation to mental-health services at the Behavioral Health Services North clinic in Plattsburgh “has always been an obstacle,” he added. “This project has brought mental-health services to outlying areas to a degree that we’ve never had before. Access has never been better.”
Having school-based clinics also support the student’s ability to focus on school-related activities.
“There is less loss of instruction time,” McQueen said of the opportunity for students to access appointments with mental-health therapists and then return to their regular schedule in school.
Traveling for an appointment at the clinic in Plattsburgh usually
involved the entire day, meaning the student would be absent from classes all that time.
“It’s not just about wanting these kids to be better,” she said. “There are lifetime advantages as well. Scores (of students receiving mental-health services) on math and verbal standardized testing have improved significantly.
“Attendance has improved,” she added. “The students are feeling safe and valued and show improved self-esteem. They’re better able to make decisions, and they want to be in school. When they’re not in school, they can’t learn.”