Thanks to a new partnership between Fayetteville-Manlius School District and Contact Community Services, a community organization that focuses solely on the social, emotional, behavioral and mental wellness of children and adults, additional mental health services will be available for students and staff with the start of the new school year.
During its July 11 meeting, F-M Board of Education approved a contract between the district and Contact Community Services. This organization specializes in social and emotional learning and provides training and consultation to support student mental health and wellness.
In addition to offering wellness activities and training to the K-12 school community and families, the contract includes providing the district with a full-time mental health educator.
For the 2022-23 school year, mental health educator William DeSantis will continue to serve F-M. He started working with the district last spring to provide small-group mental health training sessions for nearly 1,400 F-M High School students.
DeSantis is also a Suicide Safety in Schools (SSIS) educator. SSIS is a mental health education program offered through Contact Community Services that provides crisis management and suicide safety training to Onondaga County school communities.
“We are building a comprehensive mental health and wellness program with an emphasis on suicide prevention that spans the entire educations system,” said Kristen Stanton, SSIS/Mental Health Program Manager at Contact Community Services. “We work with students, staff and families to educate them on the latest trends and needs of the students while also destigmatizing reaching for help when needed.”
Contact Community Services uses evidence-based practices, protocols and trainings, including Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST), Question. Persuade. Refer. (QPR), More than Sad, It’s Real: Teens and Mental Health, Suicide Safety in Schools, School Crisis Team Training, Talk Saves Lives and more.
To learn more about Contact Community Services’ education program, please visit contactsyracuse.org/suicidesafetyinschools or call Susan VanCamp, Division Director of School Services at Contact Community Services (315-218-1922).