BHSN Behavioral Health Services North, Inc. A United Way Agency - Serving our community since 1874 A United Way Agency
serving our community since 1874
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For more information
on specific programs for your school:

Mark Lukens, Chief Executive Officer: 563-8206 • Email

Elizabeth Cole, School-Based Mental Health Coordinator: 561-1767 • Email



School-Based Mental Health Services (SBMHS) are mental health service provider programs licensed by the NYS Office of Mental Health, which operates on-site within a school facility. A School-Based clinic operates in the school setting at minimum one day per week and can be determined based on the level of need of your student population. Students who are referred to the satellite clinic for services will, with their parents' permission, receive an initial assessment by a NYS licensed Mental Health professional to determine if the child is experiencing a mental health condition that warrants further services. If services are needed and consented to, a student can receive clinical services on-site at the school. Psychiatric and medication services, if appropriate, are available to students off-site, at our clinics main office in Plattsburgh, New York.

The School-Based Services goal is to create consistent treatment, ease of access, decrease missed classroom time in school, crisis intervention, and symptom stabilization. We strive for consistency and quality of care for students, as well as improved communication between school and mental health providers.

Our School-Based Mental Health Services are in every school district in the County as well as every school building and include the following:

  • Arthur P. Momot Elementary School
  • AuSable Forks Elementary School
  • AuSable Valley Central Middle & High School
  • Beekmantown Central School
  • Chazy Central Rural School
  • Cumberland Head Elementary School
  • Keeseville Elementary School
  • Mooers Elementary School
  • Northeastern Clinton Central School District
  • Northern Adirondack Central School
  • Oak Street Elementary School
  • Plattsburgh High School
  • Rouses Point Elementary School
  • Saranac Central School
  • Seton Academy
  • Stafford Middle School

Need for Mental Health Services for Children and Youth

Maintaining positive mental health is critical to children's success in school as well as life. Research demonstrates that students who receive social -- emotional and mental health support achieve better academically, and the North Country is no exception. School climate, classroom behavior, on-task learning, and students' sense of connectedness and well-being all improve as well. Our School-Based Mental Health Services program is an example of our efforts to expand services to non-traditional settings that make them more accessible to the people who need them the most. This innovative program allows our clinicians to provide mental health treatment to students in the safety of their own school. This dramatically reduces lost classroom time for the student receiving treatment. In the North Country, traveling to an outpatient setting, like a doctor's office or clinic, could mean spending a half- or even whole-day trip for the child and parent versus a 30-minute visit for a student using our services. One of the primary goals of the program is to decrease the challenge of getting proper services and increase the consistency of treatment.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, one in five children and adolescents experiences a mental health problem during their school years. Serious mental health problems, such as self-injurious behaviors and suicide, are on the rise, particularly among youth. Unfortunately, estimates of up to 60% of students do not receive the treatment they need due to stigma and lack of access to services. Most children spend at least 6 hours a day at their school. Because of this, teachers, counselors, administrators, and even bus and lunchroom monitors are often in a position to see the first signs of a child in distress. Schools offer an ideal location for prevention, intervention, positive development, and regular communication between school and families. In fact, research has shown that students are more likely to seek counseling when services are available in schools. In some cases, schools provide the only mental health services in the community


  • Less time out of the classroom because students do not have to travel to appointments.
  • School professionals are able to refer students for services (with parental permission).
  • Shorter wait time to begin services compared to applying for services within the community.
  • Improved communication between school and mental health provider.
  • Better consistency and quality of care as students are seen on a regular schedule.
  • Support provided to the school.

Clinic Operations:

  • Agreements are sought from parents/guardians that allow for school and clinic staff to work together on scheduling and ensure student participation.
  • Clinical staff can work with the school to build/create interventions to encourage success.
  • Agreements allow for appropriate school staff to know of scheduling of participating students.
  • Clinic staff ensures confidentiality is maintained and will not share specific treatment information of any student with school staff or outside individual without authorized consent by family.
  • Clinic services are optional and require parent/guardian permission prior to a student receiving services.
  • Services are funded through health insurance benefits of participants; no direct cost for the schools.

School-Based Clinic Operational Needs:

  • Designated space within school for clinic services for at least one day per week depending upon schools need for services.
  • Space has to be confidential.
  • Individuals inside the space cannot be viewed by individuals walking by.
  • Individuals inside the space cannot be heard by individuals outside the space.
  • Locked cabinet for maintaining program supplies and confidential information.
  • Phone and internet accessibility.

Those interested in learning more about our school-based clinics should contact our mental health coordinator:

School-Based Mental Health Services, Elizabeth Cole (LMHC): 518-561-1767 • Email

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