WATCH: Onondaga County Executive outlines plan to bring mental health services to schools

Coronavirus

ONONDAGA COUNTY, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — On Thursday, Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon along with local school administrators announced an initiative to bring mental health support to county schools to benefit kids who are struggling. 

The county executive started out the briefing by going over COVID-19 numbers for the county, then led into the urgent need for mental health resources in schools due to the pandemic. 

“You can’t talk about COVID and not talk about mental health, and you can’t talk about mental health without talking about our young people and what they just went through for the last two years-  two school years, now going into a third school year,” said McMahon. 

The county will take a three tiered approach. This initiative has added:

  • 42 student assistant specialists to now have 75
  • 8 Access liaisons to now have 28 for all districts
  • 21 licensed clinicians to make a total of 60 for mental health clinics in schools

This is a partnership with SUNY Upstate, St Joseph’s, Helio Health, Arise, and Liberty Resources.  

McMahon stressed that this effort to bring in more specialists, liaisons and clinics to schools will not only help kids who are in crisis that need these services, but will reveal how severe the mental health crisis is for local kids. 

“We’re gonna be stunned to see how many people aren’t okay,” said McMahon. 

The county is allocating $5.5 million with help from area schools to bring these resources to the schools.

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