Windsor Strong Students Visit MHAST

It’s hard to be strong without being healthy. Windsor students studying what makes a community strong visited a Binghamton organization dedicated to the mental health of area residents, the Mental Health Association of the Southern Tier.

Development Director Joanne Weir spoke to the students about how MHAST is encouraging a conversation about mental health in an effort to remove the stigma surrounding the topic.

“Our whole purpose is to help people survive in the community to the best of their ability,” said Weir. “Some people have limitations and we try to help them overcome their obstacles.”

Weir highlighted MHAST’s work with the Do It For Daron (D.I.F.D.) organization. D.I.F.D. is named after 14-year-old Daron Richardson who died by suicide in 2010. It creates awareness, inspires conversations, and transforms youth mental health. The Binghamton Senators and Rumble Ponies have both worn purple jerseys during games to help raise funds for MHAST to further D.I.F.D’s cause.

Weir also talked about how her organization develops mentor programs, and encourages health and nutrition as ways to treat mental illness.

“I think it gave us a new idea on how to deal with mental health, exercising, things you don’t think of. It doesn’t have to be medication, it can be an active lifestyle,” said Jackie Carlson of the Binghamton University Graduate School of Education who is working with students at the Windsor Strong Academy.

“A healthy community is a good community. You don’t want people just sitting around, watching TV,” said Justin Golden, who is entering 9th grade. “Never give up on life.”

The Windsor Central School District has also taken steps to address student mental health. During the school year there are mental health clinics at Windsor Central High School and Windsor Middle School. Support is available to students in grades K-12. Students can be referred by school officials, their families or be self-referred. The
School-based clinician will contact a parent/guardian before speaking with any students.

Services Offered:
• Individual mental health counseling for students
• Collateral contact and short-term counseling for families
• Referrals to other community agencies and resources to best address needs of individual students, families and the community as a whole
• Collaboration with Guidance Department and other school staff (administrators, teachers, etc.) to ensure every student is given the time and services that they need

The Mental Health Clinic accepts many types of insurance. If you need our services and do not have the ability to pay, our staff will help you obtain the necessary assistance.

For more information on these clinics you can go to

Students in the Windsor Strong Academy will present their findings on what makes a community strong on Thursday, July 27.

Children meeting around a conference room table

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