Clinic Plus addresses students' mental health

CHENANGO COUNTY – Recognizing a problem and addressing it early is just one part of what local social workers are trying to achieve with a new program.

Clinic Plus offers free in-school mental health screenings to students. Senior social worker and program coordinator Kristie Scott says since the program has been implemented, she personally has seen how successful it can be. The program – a collaboration of the New York State Board of education Department and the Office of Mental Health – has worked to get the support of local school districts, county officials and other agencies involved.

“Based on national research, it is believed many children are under-diagnosed when it comes to their mental well-being,” said Scott. “We are trying to lessen that number by addressing the problem before it is too late.”

Targeting young children, Clinic Plus addresses not only a child’s physical state but their emotional state as well. “Many times parents and adults will address a child’s physical health, but it is the child’s emotional wellness that tends to get ignored,” said Scott.

The program, which offers early intervention screenings, was officially introduced to Chenango County school districts at the beginning of the school year. It is available at no cost for the county or any school interested in participating. Scott and Mental Health Director Mary Ann Spryn presented the program to area superintendents, outlining what it would offer students and the residents of each district.

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