Save Sagamore Children’s Psychiatric Center of Dix Hills.
Sagamore Children’s Psychiatric Center treats seriously emotionally disturbed children of Nassau and Suffolk Counties, who range in age from 9 through 17 and require a structured inpatient program. Located in Dix Hills, Sagamore is operated by New York State’s Office of Mental Health (OMH) and is accredited by The Joint Commission.
The children admitted to Sagamore suffer from severe psychiatric disorders, including deep depression, debilitating anxiety, and psychosis. With histories of suicide attempts, self-mutilation, physically explosive outbursts, social isolation, substance abuse, and runaway, these children require intensive and comprehensive treatment.
On July 10, 2013, the New York State Office of Mental Health released its “Regional Centers of Excellence Plan,” which calls for the closure of Sagamore’s inpatient hospital. The plan reads, “All inpatient services currently provided by Sagamore Children’s Psychiatric Center will be merged into the Greater New York Children’s RCE to be located in Queens and the Bronx.”
For the families of children plagued by mental illness, they will be faced with the difficult decision to either admit their child to a hospital far from home or settle for less intensive, and thus inadequate treatment closer to home. If families do agree to place their child in Queens or the Bronx, travel-related financial burdens and time constraints will limit opportunities for them to visit and participate in family therapy. As a result, their already fragile child will feel abandoned and disconnected.
If families instead opt for the less intensive local services, their child will not receive the treatment necessary for long-lasting stabilization. Consequently, their child’s risk for both being rehospitalized at a short-term private hospital and engaging in dangerous behavior will increase significantly. Moreover, community-based systems will, by design, be ill-prepared and unequipped to service children who require a higher level of care. Overburdened by subsequent demands, the quality of treatment offered at these outpatient programs will likely be compromised, and even more children will suffer.
Please sign our petition to help keep Sagamore open for the children and families of Long Island. Also, please visit our website for additional information on how to help: savesagamore.wordpress.com
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