NISKAYUNA, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A new initiative is coming to Niskayuna that lets residents access mental health and social services much easier. The Healthy Alliance of Troy is a referral program partnering with more than 580 organizations across 22 counties in New York. They are now partnering with the town of Niskayuna for the program, Nisky Connects.

Previously, only available and being used through hospital and school systems in the state by helping hospitals and healthcare providers connect their patients with proper resources for their health needs with social services. “We are the first municipality in New York state to be utilizing this healthy Alliance platform for social services for Our residents and it’s coming at a zero fiscal cost,” said Brennan.

This program is being spearheaded by Deputy Town Supervisor Jessica Brennan. She says this program will connect people with social service referrals depending on their needs. “For example, if a single parent might come in and say I need help connecting with someone to help me with paying my rent that might lead to us also learning that they need help with a job they also might need help with job training they may also need help with childcare so they could go to the job training so that would be four referrals,” she said.

The Deputy Supervisor added the Niskayuna Chief of Police along with two other officers have trained with Healthy Alliance to ensure that the program is available to officers while on the scene or out in the field. “Our department is very focused on community policing. So, this is just going to be another tool in their tool belt to support people in any way possible and to be you know, just part of the team to support our residents,” says Brennan.

She also feels that this program is coming just in time for most residents. “We’re all very aware that covid has its ripples continuing with our mental health our social health emotional health and we all know that gun violence in our country is also on the rise so this program should hopefully support everyone in any way that they might need.”

Health Alliance Chief Executive Officer Erica Coletti shared this statement about the partnership:
“At Healthy Alliance, we connect underserved community members to our network of organizations, from local food pantries to regional hospitals, that provide services that are essential for a healthy life. We believe that addressing social needs like food insecurity, clothing and household items, housing, transportation, primary health, behavioral health, and so much more before they turn into serious medical problems will improve the overall health of our communities and lower medical costs for everyone. We’re excited to add the Town of Niskayuna to our connected network of over 580 partners to improve upon existing health disparities in that community and get residents connected quickly and easily to organizations ready and willing to help.”

Nisky Connects is HIPPA compliant and will use a screening tool that will maintain an individual person’s privacy. The program kicks off on August 1.