Established in 1874, by Margaret Platt (after whose family the City of Plattsburgh is named) was the "Home for the Friendless." It was a facility caring for orphans and abandoned children of the community, which evolved into the Northern New York Center and grew over its first 125 years in response to the needs of the community. The Center provided treatment, rehabilitation and support services to families, children and adults experiencing mental illness, helping them build fulfilling and productive lives in their homes, schools and communities. Their efforts were geared toward those children and adults who were in the greatest need: seriously emotionally disturbed children and youth, seriously mentally ill adults, and their families. Services were provided through a broad array of individualized activities, all directed toward supporting and enhancing the lives of individuals and families in our community.
In 1963, a group of community leaders and professionals met with the intention to form an association whose purpose would be to see that expanded mental health services for children and adults would be available in Clinton County. The Mental Health Association fulfilled its original role as advocate, educator and watchdog. It also acted as coordinator among related agencies, acted as a contract agency, provided direct services, helped others to help themselves - still working out the enthusiastic visions that were imagined and hoped for over three decades earlier.
In 1995, Families Involved Together (FIT) began as a shared program between the Mental Health Association and the Northern New York Center which assists parents with teaching, setting goals and supporting their emotionally disturbed child. Joining together in this creative and innovative sharing of resources was the first step toward the 1999 merger.
Statistical studies show that one in seven people and one in four families will experience a serious emotional disability. While the Northern New York Center provided clinical treatment, rehabilitation and support services, the Mental Health Association provided non-clinical prevention, education, referral, counseling and supportive services for populations at risk for emotional disability.
In June of 1999, a merger occurred between Northern New York Center and the Mental Health Association of Clinton County. Although both entities had been serving the individuals and families of Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties, the merger brought together the leaders in the behavioral health field offering clients a continuum of seamless services.
BHSN has emerged as the leader in behavioral health services in the northernmost area of New York State bordering Canada and Vermont. Located along the shores of Lake Champlain, BHSN has over 20 sites which comprise its 24 programs and administrative facility.
As a locally owned and operated not-for-profit, our Board of Directors is comprised of up to 13 business professionals and 2 direct consumers of BHSN services in addition to our CEO. Current Board members include:
Mark Lukens - Board Chair, Barbara Storandt - Vice-Chair, Joanne Gleeson-Kreig - Secretary, Brian Gladwin, Alexa King, Matt Nolan, Ken Parker, Kirsten Pope, Jan Marie Sexton and Joseph Wawrzynski.
Interested in joining these proactive community members? Click here for an application!
Our employees participate on our 10 standing committees which guide our programs and service delivery in addition to the board committees on which many employees are also asked to serve.
Visit our photo gallery and take a look at some of our recent awards and community activities!
Our most recent Annual Report is available here.
If you are interested in an intership at BHSN, take a look at our programs, discover which meets your academic/professional goals and then contact your Advisor or the Program Director to see if there are openings in the coming semester for which you qualify.
"Being able to be right there, in the homes working hands-on with families has been an amazing experience; I truly feel that I made a difference. Completing my internship at Healthy Families Clinton County was the best decision I could have made." ~
Meg O'Connor, HDFR Intern Spring '13
"Interning as a social work student at BHSN has been simply amazing. This internship was far beyond my initial expectations; I have grown both professionally and personally during my time here. There were numerous experiences to be had, including the observation of a program in transition, assisting staff members with projects, working with children, getting to know professional foster parents, transporting clients throughout the tri-county areas, becoming involved with community awareness events (such as Adoption Day), observing court room proceedings and a lot more. I feel very blessed to have been placed here at BHSN for my social work internship." ~ Rosa L. Ganiszewski, The Family Corner Intern, Spring '13
"I was an intern in one of the programs at BHSN and found an interest in working the seniors in our area. Today I am the Program Coordinator of the Eldercare Program and the Caregiver Resource Center." ~Mary Buckley-LaBonte, Spring '07
BHSN accepts referrals from hospitals, other human service agencies, primary and specialty physicians, clergy, the criminal justice system as well as self-referrals.