Behavioral health services available for students, families

Life can be challenging. Duanesburg Central School District offers students and their families expanded behavioral health services through a partnership with Northern Rivers, an organization that includes the Northeast Parent & Child Society and Parsons Child & Family Center.

“Northern Rivers and the district worked with Schenectady County and the Office of Mental Health to locate a licensed behavioral health clinic at DCS for district students and families,” said Duanesburg Superintendent Frank Macri. “Our goal is to provide increased access to high quality behavioral health services within our school community.

“Our program serves Jr./Sr. High School students and families and will expand to include those at the elementary school.”

Yvonne LernerYvonne Lerner, MHC-LP, a Northern Rivers mental health counselor, provides confidential care at an office in the high school during and after the school day, through a referral process. Parents and guardians seeking more information should contact DCS school social worker Kristin Mills at kmills@duanesburg.org, (518) 895-3000, ext. 232 or Yvonne Lerner at (518) 895-5350, ext. 235.

“If a child is spending too much time alone, is more easily irritated, cries more than usual, or has problems focusing or sitting still, they may benefit from our school-based behavioral health services,” Lerner said. “At a parent or guardian’s request, we can provide care for students during regular school hours.”

Although the clinic is housed at DCS, insurance coverage for Northern Rivers services is handled in the same manner as when accessing other services located in a non-school setting. In other words, the program operates similarly to clinical visits off-site and therefore, parents/guardians provide their insurance information to Northern Rivers.

“Good health – including physical, emotional and social wellness – is central to learning and student success,” said Superintendent Macri. “The Northern Rivers care providers are part of our district’s overall team approach to providing behavioral health care for all students, a team that also includes school social workers, a psychologist, school counselors and nurses.

“Our team of behavioral health care providers, educators, administrators and school staff all work together to assess and address challenges to help ensure the health and well-being of our students and their families.”