Students in the Liverpool Central School District who need mental health care now have an option closer to home: the Liberty Resources clinic located within the Liverpool High School Annex.
“We are looking at ways of making mental health services more available,” said Amy DiVita, LCSD executive director for special education. “This is an effort for us to meet the mental health needs of our community and our families.”
The clinic opened within the Annex at the beginning of the school year and primarily serves students in the Annex and at Morgan Road Elementary School. Other Liverpool students may use the services, but parents must provide transportation.
Among the services Liberty Resources offers are:
• Individual therapy
• Family counseling at school, at home or at a clinic
• Psychiatric evaluation and medication management
• Crisis consultation and intervention
Appointments take place during the school day. Liberty’s services are billed through a family’s health insurance, and Medicaid is accepted.
In addition to providing clinical services with Liberty Resources, DiVita said the district is focusing on early detection of mental health problems among students.
DiVita said schools often provide counseling if a student’s struggles are related to a school-based issue, but a district’s existing services may not address problems behind the scenes.
“We are seeing students dealing with issues such as anxiety, trauma and depression,” DiVita said. “The population we are trying to reach is the quiet kids who may not show signs in school.”
Currently, the clinic’s caseload maxes out at 30 students, but DiVita said the district is hoping to expand the program to other buildings and serve more students.
“It’s providing a higher level of care on-site,” she said. “We’re eager to expand and get the word out, and we’re collaborating with our community agencies.”
DiVita said Liverpool’s partnership with Liberty Resources makes it easier to refer kids to mental health services.
“Now that service is right at our doorstep,” she said.
While the availability of on-site counseling will be a boon to Liverpool students, DiVita stressed that the solution for mental health issues is not a simple one. But it is the first step.
“This will ultimately make it easier for our families. It’s going to be a work in progress, especially tackling the stigma,” she said. “This just makes it part of the day and less stigmatized.”
School building intervention staff may refer students to the clinic, but parents may do so as well by contacting Kimberly Martin, Liberty Resources’ school-based mental health referral coordinator, at (315) 472-4471 ext. 1205.
Ashley M. Casey is a reporter for The Baldwinsville Messenger and The Eagle Star-Review. She graduated from Le Moyne College in 2012 and previously worked for the Scotsman Press.