Officials break ground for mental health urgent care facility

Published: Aug. 9, 2022 at 2:51 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - Providing mental health care around the clock. That’s the idea behind a new facility coming to Watertown.

On Tuesday, local leaders broke ground to redevelop the former Great American supermarket on State Street into an urgent care facility for behavioral health and mental health patients.

“Behind me is Citizen Advocates’ third state-of-the-art behavioral health campus,” said James Button, Citizen Advocates president & CEO.

Citizen Advocates is the organization running the clinic. It’ll serve anyone who needs help battling addiction or a mental health issue. The doors will be open all day every day. Button points out the group’s other facilities have been a success.

“Once people find out about the life-saving, life-changing care that is provided in a Citizen Advocates behavioral health urgent care, people continue to come back,” he said.

Community leaders support the project too.

“There’s nothing sadder or worse when a parent or another loved one calls and says, ‘My loved one is in need of mental health care, they’ve been in the emergency room, they really need that specialized kind of care, where can they go,’” said Watertown City Council Member Sarah Compo Pierce.

Assemblyman Mark Walczyk hopes the facility will prevent people from falling through the cracks - something Jefferson County officials say is a big need in the community.

“The need for crisis services has always been a part of Jefferson County and Watertown. It’s a nationwide concern. But, over the past few years, it’s gotten worse,” said Timothy Ruetten, director, Jefferson County Community Services.

Ruetten says the county has talked about having mental health urgent care for 10 years now and he’s confident the new clinic will play an important role in the community.

Button says they’re going through the permitting process right now and there’s no timetable yet for a grand opening.

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