Children's Prevention Services > The Student Assistance Program (SAP)

The Student Assistance Program (SAP)


Description of service provided:
The Student Assistance Program (SAP) provides prevention services to students who are experiencing any type of difficulty, concern or behavior that is interfering with school success. The Student Assistance Program offers screenings to referred students to gather background information in the areas of school, medical history, family history, peer relations, drug or alcohol use/history, past/current mental health history, suicidal and homicidal ideation, self injurious behavior along with the student’s own impressions about what their situation is currently. Following the screening, recommendations are made.  Possible recommendations include referral back to SAP team for monitoring, three to five supportive counseling sessions in school with the mental health liaison, or for an outside referral. Outside referrals can include but are not limited to, a full mental health evaluation, outpatient counseling, family counseling, HOPE Program (Helping Our Pupils Excel:  A school-based outpatient program), drug and alcohol intervention, family doctor or referral to crisis intervention.

Student Assistance Program mental health liaisons are also available to assist schools with students who are in a crisis situation. These students may be suicidal, homicidal or have had something happen that has left them upset enough that they are requesting to speak to someone as soon as possible. Following a Crisis Screening, recommendations are made. Again, the recommendation could be three to five supportive counseling sessions, referral to a hospital for a face to face evaluation/direct admission, or assisting the student/family with pursuing outpatient services.

Student Assistance Program mental health liaisons are also ready to assist their school’s faculty and/or students in the event of a school-wide crisis such as an accident or death of a student or faculty member.

Geographical area of service:
The Student Assistance Program is offered in the following schools throughout Elk, Cameron and Potter counties:
Elk County Catholic High School
Cameron County Junior/Senior High School
Johnsonburg Area Junior/Senior High School
Ridgway Area Middle/High School
St. Marys Area Middle School
St. Marys Area High School
St. Marys Catholic Middle School
Coudersport Area High School
Austin Area High School
Oswayo Valley High School
Galeton Area High School

The Student Assistance Program is also being offered on an elementary level. An elementary-friendly screening is used in these schools and the recommendations remain the same as in the middle and high schools. These participating schools are:
Francis S. Grandinetti Elementary School – Ridgway Area School District
Johnsonburg Elementary School – Johnsonburg Area School District

Admission Criteria:
Students are referred to the Student Assistance Program because they are experiencing an academic, behavioral and/or emotional difficulty that is making it difficult for them to succeed in school. Potter County assists students in grades K-12.

How to access service:
Students are referred to SAP through several different ways. A teacher, other school faculty member, parent, relative or friend can let their school know about a student with whom they are concerned. A student can refer themselves to the program by talking to a member of their school’s SAP team, guidance counselor or other school faculty. The school must receive parental permission before a screening can be done on a student.

Address and hours of operation:
Elk and Cameron Counties
The Community Education Council Building
Suite 302
4 Erie Avenue
P.O. Box 599
St. Marys, PA 15857
Hours of operation are from 8:00am – 4:00pm.
The Student Assistance Program is available during the regular school year.

Potter County
Gunzburger Annex Building
3rd Floor
1 North Main St.
Coudersport, PA  16915
Hours of operation are from 8:00am - 5:00pm

How consumers pay for service:
This program is offered at no charge for students and their families. The Student Assistance Program receives funding from the Department of Public Welfare. Dickinson Center, Inc. holds the contract with Cameron Elk Mental Health/Mental Retardation Services to provide this program in Elk and Cameron counties. On the elementary level, schools can utilize funding for Elementary Student Assistance Program services (as they are needed/requested).