GLOVERSVILLE, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A crisis can happen at any time. For school-aged children, it can happen right in the classroom during the middle of the day.

Which is where the Family Counseling Center in Fulton County steps in with its mobile crisis unit. “They go out to the schools and evaluate the child and see how we can support that child. De-escalate the situation so they don’t need to go to the emergency room,” says executive director Michael Countryman.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 1 in 5 children have a mental, emotional or behavioral disorder. The prevalence of these disorders has increased throughout the pandemic in school aged children from being isolated, to learning form home and now being back in the classroom.

“This may be the very first time they have entered a school due to COVID, especially if they are at a young age,” says mobile crisis counselor Jeremy Purtell, “and this may be a very different school than they remember last time. ‘I was in my groove two years ago. This doesn’t make sense to me anymore. I no longer like school.’ And the other problems start to arise and that’s what we try to address.” 

The mobile crisis unit works with the child in need, the school and the parents. The goal is to ensure the child is safe and their mental health needs are addressed by identifying why the child is experiencing a crisis. As well as making sure that the child’s impression with the mental health system is a hopeful one so they continue to seek help.