Oswego County Will Offer Mental Health Clinics In Local Schools

OSWEGO COUNTY – Beginning in September, school-based satellite mental health clinics will be available to students in three Oswego County school districts, County Legislator Roy Reehil, chairman of the Legislature’s Human Services Committee, announced.

The school-based mental health clinic services plan being developed by the County Division of Mental Hygiene will allow school districts throughout the county to partner with community mental health agencies to provide clinical mental health services.

First-year sites are being planned for buildings within the Mexico, Phoenix, and Altmar-Parish-Williamstown districts.

“The goal of the project is to have a satellite mental health clinic, licensed by the New York State Office of Mental Health and staffed with a licensed mental health professional, in every school building in the county,” said Legislator Reehil, District 5, Constantia. “Three to six new sites will be added each school year to accomplish this goal.”

The Oswego County Division of Mental Hygiene is part of the Oswego County Department of Social Services.

Nicole Kolmsee, MS, director of Community Services for the Division of Mental Hygiene, is developing the school-based mental health clinic services plan.

Kolmsee said increasing the capacity of outpatient mental health services for children in Oswego County has been one of the priorities identified in the county’s local plan for mental hygiene services for several years.

“The lack of access to mental health services for youth and their families is a barrier to academic success for youth with emotional and behavioral challenges,” said Kolmsee. “Negative peer interactions can include impulsivity, physical aggression, bullying, self-control and problem-solving skill deficits. These behaviors all interfere with learning, and the social and skill development needed for future success.”

The project is being funded through state aid from the NYS Office of Mental Health.

Kolmsee credited the Oswego County Legislature, the Human Services Committee, and the Oswego County Community Services Board for their support in the use of these funds for the project.

In addition to Legislator Reehil, members of the Human Services Committee include legislators Bradley Trudell. District 7, Mexico, vice chairman; Thomas Drumm, District 16, Oswego; Nathan Emmons, District 15, Oswego; Daniel Farfaglia, District 24, Fulton; James Karasek, District 22, Fulton; and Tim Stahl, District 20, Oswego.