November 26, 2021

County mental health services ongoing

Cortland County Seal

Editor’s note: This report was corrected to note that the department is still doing intake, by phone.

It may not be the normal routine of entering the counselor’s office, sitting in a chair or on a couch and talking about your mental health, but services are still being offered during the coronavirus outbreak, just from the comfort of your home via telehealth and telephone.

“Reactions and responses to the crisis varies among the mental health population, as it does with any population,” Samantha Hillson, the director of health promotion for Tompkins County, said Tuesday. “Clients are reporting appreciation and ease of mind that the Mental Health Department is available to them; even if they can’t meet with clinicians in person.”

Cortland County’s mental health department switched over to providing services via telehealth and telephone on March 19.

“Cortland’s IT (information technology) department has been fantastic with rapid support to our staff to fix technology issues as they arise,” Sharon MacDougall, the director of community services, said Tuesday.

The changes to services come as people across the country try to socially distance themselves to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

No walk-in services are available, MacDougall said. Intake is done by phone; People can call the Cortland County clinic for assistance.

Anyone using medication management can call the clinic or use the patient portal for refill requests.

Horizon House, respite and family support services are closed until further notice, the statement said.

Tompkins County started providing mental health clinics and personalized recovery oriented services by phone and telehealth on March 19 as well.

Hillson said clinicians are working on scheduling people now.

“Any client who wants to speak with their clinician for a check-in or regular session can do so,” she said.

Tompkins County also offers a virtual personalized recovery-oriented group.

People who need help with a crisis, medication, injections, payee or intake services can also call weekdays.

People who come to the department will be asked questions regarding whether they were diagnosed with the virus, in contact with anyone who was quarantined or if they have any of the virus symptoms, Hillson said in an email.

People who answer yes to any of the questions will “be directed to seek the services of a medical provider and they will not be seen in the building.”

Care management, which offers case management service to adults with severe and persistent mental illnesses, will be available by phone as well.

Mental Health Services

Cortland County

  • For an immediate crisis, call 911.
  • Call the mental health department: 607-758-6100 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.
  • Call the county crisis line: 607-756-3771.
  • For after-hour needs, contact Liberty Resources Crisis: 607-756-3771 from 5 p.m. to midnight weekdays and 6 a.m. to midnight weekends.
  • For updates, call 211 or check the Cortland County Mental Health Facebook page at

Source: Sharon MacDougall, director of community services for Cortland

Tompkins County

  • Clinic and personalized recovery oriented services contact: 607-274-6200 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays.
  • Care Management services contact: 607-274-6333.
  • Personalized recovery oriented virtual group:
  • For updates call 211.

Source: Samantha Hillson, director of health promotion for Tompkins

Other resources

  • National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Disaster Distress hotline: 1-800-985-5990 or text “TALKWITHUS”