OGDENSBURG, N.Y. (WWNY) - New mental health services are coming to Ogdensburg. They’ll include a regional children’s inpatient unit at Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center.
“This has been an ongoing need for several years. There has been a growing number of children requiring psychiatric services throughout our county as well as the surrounding counties,” said Sarah Gordinier, director, children’s mental health.
“The economy of the region has changed – not for the better, so … there is a need for more mental health services,” said
Pakkam Rajasekaran, Claxton-Hepburn chief of psychiatry.
Right now, a child from St. Lawrence County requiring in-patient services may be sent to a hospital many hours away. That’s difficult for families.
“So they may not be able to participate in their treatment, which is very vital when it comes to children’s behavioral health … that the family is part of their treatment,” said Gordinier.
The new children’s unit will open later this year. It will employ about 30. Upgrades are also planned for the hospital’s adult acute care mental health unit. A fund raising campaign is underway.
“So there are a whole array of services that are necessary. It’s not that easy. It cost a lot of money. And our hospital has been able to do that for the last 25 years,” said Rajasekaran.
Claxton-Hepburn also has the region’s only mental health emergency department and it runs a comprehensive mental health wellness center for outpatient care.
There may be more mental health services coming to Ogdensburg. A group called Citizens Advocates wants to open a mental health urgent care center in the city.
It will be an extension of services Citizens Advocates already runs in Malone and Massena.
Citizens Advocates says Ogdensburg was picked because it has high hospitalization rates for alcoholism and drug abuse.