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Onondaga County Funding Will Enhance Mental Health Services for NSCSD Students

In this year’s State of the County speech, Onondaga County Executive McMahon addressed a critical need in the community when he spoke about the considerable mental health challenges being faced by students across the county. In his proposed budget, the County Executive plans to address those needs with the implementation of additional mental health services in the North Syracuse Central and East Syracuse Minoa School Districts. The budget includes three additional services in each district: a Mental Health Outpatient Clinic, an ACCESS Family Liaison and a Promise Zone Student Engagement Specialist. Students in the North Syracuse Central School District will directly benefit from these services.

North Syracuse Central School District Superintendent Dan Bowles spoke about the additional services. He said, “Prior to the pandemic, students were already experiencing considerable mental health challenges and as the pandemic continues, our students, families, schools and communities are in need of mental health and social emotional supports to address the impacts. There are high levels of stress, anxiety and depression as a response to the isolation and social/emotional trauma associated with the pandemic. Onondaga County’s school based mental health expansion has been a key tool in our ability to address and prevent further negative impacts on our school communities.”

Onondaga County’s goal is to ensure that mental health and social/emotional resources are available in every school in the County. Students’ social emotional needs must be met in order for them to be successful academically. 

East Syracuse Minoa Superintendent Dr. DeSiato also shared her reflections on the partnership saying, “Onondaga County is helping with students’ immediate needs and on a prevention level.  With the County’s help, both Districts and our partners have been working to identify and address the needs of students before they get to a crisis.”

Dr. DeSiato went on to praise the County’s efforts. “This is a great model and we are already seeing great successes with students and families. This school-family-community partnership is doing an incredible job of connecting with students and families, determining their specific needs and working together as a team to address those needs.”