Mental health urgent care to benefit active duty, retired military

Published: Aug. 15, 2022 at 4:00 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - When the new mental health urgent care opens in Watertown, anybody will be able to use its services, including people who are or who have been in the armed services.

Fort Drum is the home of the 10th Mountain Division and to more than 15,000 military service members.

With so many more military personnel living in the area - active duty and retired - the military is part of the fabric of the north country. It’s these military members that a new Watertown facility will benefit.

“We’ve done a ton of preparation around being able to provide a quality level of care for people who are active and retired duty,” said James Button, president & CEO of Citizen Advocates.

Citizen Advocates is bringing a new 24/7, mental health urgent care facility to Watertown. It’ll go inside the former Great American supermarket on State Street. Last week was the ceremonial groundbreaking.

Button says the company has agreements with four armed forces insurance carriers: TRICARE; TRICARE for Life; CHAMPVA, and VA Community Care Network.

“We want to be available to folks in the armed forces, whether active duty or retired,” said Button.

Data by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs shows that 11 to 20 percent of Iraq War veterans will have post-traumatic stress disorder in a given year.

“As a veteran and as a behavioral health clinician, I really understand the needs here in Jefferson County when it comes to veteran and active duty population,” said Timothy Ruetten, director, Jefferson County Community Services.

He says the area benefits from having a V.A. Center and the Joseph Dwyer Peer to Peer Program.

“But this is certainly a complement to those programs,” he said.

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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