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Petitioning Office of the Commissioner, NYS Office of Mental Health John Tauriello, Deputy Commissioner, c/o Renee Bott, Asst. to Commissioner

Keep St Lawrence Psychiatric Center Open with Full Facilities

The New York State Office of Mental Health has decided to close the only facility in Northern New York that provides inpatient services for children and adults, which would leave many families without a viable solution to their mental health needs. If this closure occurs, many who desperately need the help will suffer without it. There are already ridiculously long waiting lists for appointments in out patient facilities in our area. If SLPC is closed, the closest inpatient facility for children's services will be in Utica, NY - 2+ hours away. Many families will not seek help for a minor child due to the fact that they know they will be sent this great distance for treatment, effectively diminishing the chances they can visit often and be involved in the decision making process for their child. A large component of the success of of any patient's return to their homes and lives is their support system and the ability of their family to understand the proposed treatment plan of the patient. Our own son has been inpatient at this facility for the treatment of depression multiple times over the course of his young life - beginning with a short stay when he was only 7 years old. Because SLPC is a relatively short 45 minute drive from our home, someone was able to visit our son every single evening while he was inpatient. I wholeheartedly believe this constant involvement and support is what has helped him to remain hopeful and to successfully transition home when discharged. Additionally, this assured us that, as hard as it was to have him away from home, we were getting him the help that he needed and we could still have frequent contact with him. We got to see him - and he got to see us and know that we missed, loved and supported him. If he had been in Utica for these inpatient stays, we surely would not have had this comforting and crucial contact due to employment and the long distance drive, which has financial and time ramifications. Some families would not be able to visit their children at all during their stay, which is unacceptable. All of these factors will impact a family's decision to seek inpatient care for their minor children and many children and adults will go without the treatment they need and should expect to be able to receive, without such detriment. NYS Office of Mental Health is assuring an increase in outpatient care in our area, but I fear many of the quality mental healthcare professionals will not stay in Northern New York if SLPC is closed as proposed. In addition to all of the above, the closure of this facility would inevitably result in the loss of hundreds of jobs in our area, which is already at a depressed disadvantage to the rest of our state. Please consider signing this petition - and forwarding it on to others. We need to make our Northern New York voices heard loud and clear downstate. It is imperative that they know we want them to keep St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center in Ogdensburg, NY open with full services.

This petition was delivered to:
  • Office of the Commissioner, NYS Office of Mental Health
    John Tauriello, Deputy Commissioner, c/o Renee Bott, Asst. to Commissioner

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