Group Heading To Albany To Fight For Psych Center

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The future of the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center in Ogdensburg rests on whether task force members can convince the Cuomo administration to withdraw a state plan to relocate inpatient mental health services downstate.

More than a dozen task force members are travelling to Albany Tuesday to meet with several key members of Governor Andrew Cuomo's staff to discuss the state Office of Mental Health's plan.

Local officials say if inpatient adult and children's services are shifted to Syracuse and Utica, it not only would have a devastating impact on the local economy due to job losses but families would be required to travel long distances for services or elect not to get them at all.

Task Force Chairman Chuck Kelly says he is hopeful the governor and his staff listens to what the task force has to say but there are no guarantees.

"This is a very important hospital to northern New York. We really need it and need it bad. We also need the jobs," said Kelly.

Local officials say north country jails could be forced to handle a higher number of inmates with mental health issues if the local psychiatric center is closed.

Friday, October 31, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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