Feedback: Dozens Speak In Support Of Ogdensburg Psych Center
The north country was rallying around the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center Wednesday as part of a forum on possible changes to state mental health care services
It was standing room only as more than 300 people turned out in Ogdensburg to hear over 80 speakers talk about the important role the psychiatric center plays.
The center not only treats those suffering from mental illness, but also provided jobs to 500 people.
Jane Perkins, who retired from the state-run hospital after 38 years as a nurse, said she knows how important the facility is.
"Without it, it's going to put our consumers in a very poor position to have any kind of services," she said.
The state Office of Mental Health is looking at increasing outpatient community-based services while downsizing inpatient services.
The reorganization could result in closing or downsizing psychiatric centers and creating so-called of "centers of excellence."
Assemblywoman Addie Russell says the psychiatric center is "well aligned" and "well suited" to meet the state's future mental health needs.
County Administrator Karen St. Hilaire says the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center is "critical" to the north country.
State Sen. Patty Ritchie presented the acting OMH commissioner, Kristin Woodlock, with an online petition signed by over 2,000 supporters.
County Industrial Development Agency Executive Director Patrick Kelly cited the geographical location of the psychiatric center.
Kelly said there is no other such treatment facility north of the Thruway.
"The building blocks are really here for a center of excellence. You've got necessity, you've got capability and you've got cooperation," said Kelly.
He said the psychiatric center is "a very, very important piece of the community's landscape".
Wednesday, May 4, 2016, Watertown, NY
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