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Mental health urgent care center coming to Watertown

Published: Nov. 4, 2021 at 4:59 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - A new mental health urgent care is coming to Watertown. It’s considering 3 locations. Wherever it goes, Jefferson County officials say it’s badly needed.

The organization bringing the center to Watertown is called Citizen Advocates. It’s the group’s first site in Jefferson County.

“We focus instead on mental health and addiction and we are open 24/7; no referral, no appointment necessary. So, it’s a convenient offering,” said James Button, CEO, Citizen Advocates.

He says the hope is to move into the old Great American grocery store on State Street. However, the group is also considering space at the Liberty Building on Court Street and the vacant North Side Improvement League on Mill Street.

“When we were doing our research on Watertown, we recognized that all of these providers offer great services but we could continue to enhance those services,” said Button.

Those services will include mental health and addiction counseling, therapy groups and outpatient detox programs. County officials say a service like this is badly needed right now.

In an age of bail reform, emergency rooms have become the frontline for mental health services. But an increase in patients has put a strain on what they provide to the community

“We needed another option that was a more appropriate level of care that would also be able to link people in emotional crisis to our local services more quickly and more effectively,” said Tim Ruetten, director, Jefferson County Community Services.

Button says the urgent care will employ about 25 to 30 people in different areas of occupation like doctors, nurse practiconers and social workers. He says Citizen Advocates hopes to finalize a deal on a space soon and be fully operational within 6 to 12 months.

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