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Youth mental health center opens in Schenectady

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — They call it the Family Room. Its focus? Increasing mental health access to children ages 10 to 17.  What’s unique? — they won’t need a parent or guardian to accompany them!


The Room which was unveiled today, is touted as the first of its kind in the state. It will serve up to eight adolescents at a time and will be staffed with a social worker, case manager, and peer counselor. Patients will have access to services like counseling and medical referrals. 


We mentioned that a parent or guardian is not required for an individual to visit. Yes!  However, Ellis says they may be contacted following the visit to get insight into the child’s situation. 


“This is a time when the rates of youth mental health problems have been really steadily rising” said Dr David Sturman, Ellis Psychiatry Chair. “When children are in crisis, they need support whether their family are with them or not” he added.


Guests’ families will also be given resources and encouraged to participate if they accompany the child to the facility. Ashley Norcross, Clinical Director of Mental Health Services says their goal is to intervene so patients don’t end up in the emergency room.


She showed NEWS10 around the space, including ‘The Chill Room’ filled retrofitted with a white noise machine and colorful lights. Guests who aren’t seeking extensive help can come in here just to calm down and leave when ready. 


“When you come in to meet with someone. they’re nervous. they already might be in an escalated state so this room is meant for them to come in and just calm down” the Clinical Director explained.


Norcross tells NEWS10 that the preteen demographic of patients is especially underserved, and that’s why they’re stepping in to help.


“I think just some of the areas there’s a lot of wait-listed families are looking for that support and they are looking for that additional mental health treatment and there’s just not enough providers out there and there’s not enough different types of programs like this,” Ms. Norcross said.


Ellis Medicine says that all guests will be assessed and if professionals determine the child requires medical attention, they will be transported to the hospital.


Watch full story: here

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