Astor Services for Children & Families in Rhinebeck has received a $50,000 grant from the Alfred E. Smith Foundation, which will support the integration of physical and behavioral health screenings for low-income children between the ages of 2 and 21 in Dutchess County.
“Many of these children would typically not have access to mental health screening … for many reasons, the primary being the stigma that is associated with going to an outpatient mental health facility,” said Konstantinos (Gus) Tsoubris, associate executive director of Astor’s Community-Based Behavioral Health and Prevention Services, in a news release from Astor.
According to Tsoubris, these families do not want to be “labeled” and do not seek out mental health services for their children until it becomes chronic. But, he added, from Astor’s experience, early screening has a tremendous impact on children’s future, because if there are signs of mental health issues, they can be treated early.
Astor will partner with the Children’s Medical Group in Hyde Park, to provide mental health services to children in a primary care setting, which decreases the “stigma” of going to an outpatient mental health facility, he added.
And Tsoubris said, “We are thankful to the Alfred E. Smith Foundation’s grant that will allow us to screen children and address their mental health difficulties (if any) at an early stage. In addition, pediatricians will be better able to meet the needs of their clients with behavioral health difficulties in a more immediate and ‘stigma’-free setting.”