Confidentiality is upheld for all of the students, who are referred to counselors with the permission of parents. A student will typically meet with a counselor on a weekly basis, as needed.
“The services we provide (at school) mimic what we provide here at the clinic (in Plattsburgh),” said Meghan Lannon, a therapist for Behavioral Health Services North who provides school-based support at NAC.
“We offer outpatient mental-health therapy, either individually for the child or with family members.”
Students who have accessed the services cover a broad spectrum of mental-health disorders, including clinical depression and anxiety, Lannon noted.
“The earlier you can start with young children, the more successful you can be in developing self-esteem and social-emotional skills,” she added. “I’ve seen a lot of improvement in the students I’ve worked with.”
Families using the services should see a “seamless transition” as the program moves from a federally funded to a self-sustained service, she said.
Officials are transitioning to a
fee-for-service format where families will use health insurance to cover the cost of services.
The Clinton County Office of Mental Health and Addiction Services has also expanded its programs to include area pediatrician offices. Therapists are now providing a regularly scheduled presence at Mountain View Pediatrics in Plattsburgh and Dr. Maurice Racine’s clinic in Champlain.
“The pediatrician is often the person who recognizes that a child may have a problem,” said Sherrie Gillette, director of the Office of Mental Health and Addiction Services.
“People are often reluctant to access services (in a mental-health clinic) but feel much more comfortable in a doctor’s office,” she added. “We see that as a real advantage and are eager to open more satellites in physicians’ offices.”
MOVING INTO COMMUNITY