ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Northern Rivers Family of Services has launched their new Youth Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) program, designed to provide intensive, community-based services to kids aged 10-21 in Albany and Schenectady who struggle with serious mental illness. Jacqueline Schiehsl, LMSW, has been named Team Leader.

Northern Rivers, which has operated an adult ACT team serving Warren and Washington Counties since 2019, was selected by the New York State Office of Mental Health to implement the Youth ACT model for up to 36 kids in Albany and Schenectady Counties. The multidisciplinary Youth ACT team provides services and skilled therapeutic interventions through a home and community-based team approach to kids referred by their county who are at risk of or are returning home from inpatient or residential settings.

The team, which includes a team leader, licensed mental health clinicians, a nurse practitioner, a peer advocate, and support staff, provides services including medication evaluation and management, psychiatric assessment, clinical counseling and advocacy, school and employment support, and 24/7/365 on-call telephone support.

“We are proud to offer these vital services to youth and families in Albany and Schenectady Counties. Youth ACT will help clients overcome challenges in school and work, in at home, in social situations, and with physical health and wellness,” said William T. Gettman, Jr., Northern Rivers CEO.

Northern Rivers has been awarded a contract to operate an additional Youth ACT team to serve Saratoga, Warren, and Washington Counties. They hope to launch that branch in early 2023.

Aside from Schiehsl, the Albany and Schenectady-based team is made up of Kayla Bain, mental health aide; Yasmeen Baxter, family peer advocate; Joyalina David, clinician; Tresha Lall, program assistant; and Wenonah Mclaughlin, clinician. They will operate out of the organization’s 1 Genium Plaza office, in Schenectady.