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Holley Central School opens satellite office for mental health

Posted 6 November 2015 at 12:00 am

Nicole Ashton

Press Release
Holley Central School

HOLLEY – In response to the national concern about mental health issues and the impact they have on student performance and school district climates, Holley Central School District has partnered with Orleans County Mental Health to offer a satellite office at Holley Middle School/High School two days a week.

Nicole Ashton, a mental health counselor with the county, works out of the satellite office at Holley on Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“This is a real boost for our side of the county to offer mental health services here,” said Holley Superintendent Robert D’Angelo. “This saves our families travel time to come here instead of Albion, plus it augments the services provided by our district’s counseling staff. By having the satellite office at the MS/HS, students can use the services provided to help them concentrate on their studies and be positive contributors in school. This new service opportunity also encourages our parents to further engage with the district on students’ academic issues.”

Since Oct. 7, Ashton has begun to make assessments of students, offer counseling appointments and give referrals to other mental health professionals to help address the needs of students and their families.

Students are referred to her by Holley faculty and staff or a parent/guardian request. After receiving the referral or request, she begins the process by obtaining parent/guardian permission and insurance information, then scheduling an hour-long initial assessment.

Once the assessment is complete, she works with the student’s schedule to make regular appointments. For appointments scheduled after school, students can utilize the 5 p.m. bus for a ride home.

“The school district support here in Holley is amazing,” said Ashton. “I have been welcomed by the students and staff. The district personnel have been helpful with providing information on students and tracking their progress. I’m here to serve the needs of the students and families, so I try to be flexible to set appointments with the hours and days that fit their schedules.”

Ashton has a master’s degree as a Licensed Master Social Worker and a bachelor’s degree in Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counseling.

Ashton graduated from Holley and worked as an intern for Holley MS/HS Social Worker Samantha Zelent when she was pursuing her master’s degree.

“She built such great connections with the kids when she was here,” Zelent said. “Many of them would tell me that they would only seek outside counseling if it was through Nicole. She has a special way of connecting with the students and their families. Having her here is a huge asset.”

Families of Holley students can contact Ashton directly for counseling sessions. When she is at Holley, she can be reached at 638-6316, extension 5504. Her email address is nicole.ashton@orleanscountyny.gov and her Orleans County Mental Health office phone number is 589-7066.