The Mental Health Association of Westchester (MHA) has been named one of 20 teams state-wide to receive funding awards, totaling $21 million, to provide Youth Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) services. New York Governor Kathy Hochul has selected MHA as the only agency to deliver Youth ACT services in the Mid-Hudson region, and New York is the first state in the nation to use this innovative program to assist at-risk youth who have not responded well to traditional treatment.
Serving children ages 10 to 21 and their families, Youth ACT teams provide services and support in the home and community settings. The teams allow young people who are at risk of entering residential or inpatient psychiatric treatment to receive services while remaining with their families and in their communities.
“As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, youth are experiencing a myriad of compounded challenges and stressors. It is more critical than ever that we offer mental health treatment and services tailored to the unique needs of young people and their families, and we are grateful for Governor Hochul’s commitment to the well-being of families in New York,” said MHA Chief Operating Officer Stacey Roberts, LCSW. “We have long recognized the need for ACT services to be adapted for youth and are thrilled that the state has supported the creation of this model. As an experienced provider of Adult ACT services for nearly 20 years, we are well-positioned to deliver a similar model of care to youth and are proud to join a roster of committed non-profit agencies offering Youth ACT.”
Utilizing a team approach similar to existing ACT models, Youth ACT delivers intensive, highly coordinated, individualized services and skilled therapeutic interventions to ensure both the youth and their family have the appropriate level of treatment and services to support recovery. As such, services are highly responsive and flexible to meet the unique goals and changing needs of youth and their families. Youth ACT teams employ a multi-disciplinary approach with professional staff including psychiatrists, mental health clinicians and peer advocates.
“Youth ACT is a critical addition to the continuum of services we provide for youth in our region,” said MHA Vice President of Care Management and Children’s Services Deirdre Sferrazza, LMSW. “When MHA opened our doors 75 years ago, one of our main focuses was on supporting school-aged children. Decades later, we remain committed to serving youth and helping them build resilience, through services such, as but not limited to, Children’s Home and Community Based Services, Crisis Stabilization, Health Home Serving Children, Children and Family Treatment and Support Services, and the Cross Systems Unit.”