Mental Health Task Force

In May of 2021, Madison County Chairman John M. Becker organized a Mental HealtMental Health Task Force Logoh Task Force to assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the community.  Although behavioral health issues were present prior to the pandemic, the pandemic experience has heightened the need for programs and services to address behavioral health.  The group was tasked with developing a comprehensive mental health needs assessment to determine what the priority issues are in the community.  The goal is to develop short term, mid-range, and long-term goals to assist with the development of needed programs and services.  

The MC Mental Health Task Force is made up of the following individuals:

  • John M. Becker, Chairman of the Board
  • Mark Scimone, County Administrator
  • Cliff Moses, Vice-Chairman of the Board
  • Teisha Cook, Director of Community Mental Health Services
  • Eric Faisst, Director of Public Health
  • Dan Degear, Director of the Office of Emergency Management
  • Michael Fitzgerald, Commissioner of Madison County DSS
  • Samantha Field, Public Information Officer
  • Mat Roosa, Roosa Consulting LLC

The members of the task force also collaborate with key stake holders in the community.


MC General Well Being Survey

In order to assess the needs of the community, the MC Mental Health Task Force developed targeted surveys for various populations.  These included surveying:

- MC School Staff
- MC Students Grades 7-12
- MC Parents of Students
- MC Seniors
- MC General Public (this was distributed in many ways)
- MC Employees
- MC Faith Based Community
- People receiving care at MC Mental Health Clinic

*It should be noted that these surveys were to gather a baseline of information.  The MH Task Force will be and is currently collecting additional data on key groups. 

Survey Results

A number of key themes emerged from our survey efforts. Responses reinforced some common understandings of current needs:

  • Students, parents and teachers all report a significant increase in stress experienced by students, and a need for additional mental health/ wellbeing supports.
  • Populations with limited accesses to services (seniors with mobility challenges, people in rural regions with limited transportation options, etc) reported a desire for enhanced ways to access supports.
  • Social determinants of health (social connection, income, natural supports) all have a significant impact on mental health.

Implementation Strategies (The Plan) 

(Updated June 9, 2022)

Mental Health Wellbeing plan

As a result of multiple surveys, data analysis, and a range of other planning activities. The MC Mental Health Task Force has developed a plan to address the Wellness and Mental Health needs of the residents of Madison County. Special emphasis will be placed on ensuring that resources are developed for the southern, more rural and underserved communities of the County. Over the coming months and years, the goal of the Task Force is to implement and develop upon these strategies in our community. Some of these strategies are already in the works. 

  • Enhancing School based mental health/ wellness services and supports 
    • The Task Force has surveyed the Madison County School Districts.  On May 10, 2022 the Madison County Board of Supervisors resolved to fund 5 new social worker positions that would be part of a pilot School Mental Health Clinic program in 4 of the County school districts.  The hope is to have additional schools sign on to have satellite clinics in the future.   
      • Madison County is currently recruiting for these positions and the plan is to have the social workers in the schools by mid-August to be ready to serve children at the beginning of the 2022-2023 school year.
    • There is also a project identified to provide schools with Youth Mental Health First Aid training for staff and students.  This training is being offered at no cost to districts, and several have taken advantage of the opportunity and have scheduled trainings in the coming weeks/months.  
  • Looking at ways to implement mental health and substance use screening, intervention, and referrals in other settings such as primary care provider offices, schools, faith based communities and more.
    • A one page informational sheet has been developed for Primary Care Practices and the Mental Health Department has been offering trainings to individual practices.  Several practices have had the trainings and report that the information is very useful. 
  • Wellness/ Mental Health related infrastructure:
    • Enhancing and promoting existing behavioral health crisis services
    • Madison County Mobile Integrated Healthcare
    • Community Development efforts to create and build on current Wellness Resource Network
    • Address low income housing issues
      • The Task Force has begun to further assess housing needs in the county, and identify potential housing development opportunities and partners.
    • Enhancing employee wellness resources
    • Enhancing broadband access across the County

Madison County Resources

Emergency Services 911
Madison County Mental Health (24hr Crisis Line) 315-366-2327 (prompt 1)
Poison Control 1-800-222-1222
NYS Child Abuse Hotline 1-800-342-3720
Contact (Syracuse 24 hr anonymous hotline) 315-251-0600
National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or just dial 988
Madison County Dept. of Social Services 315-366-2211

For a full list of resources available please check out our directory: MC Resources Directory

NYSAC News Mental Health Article July 2022

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