ELIZABETHTOWN — Essex County Mental Health Services is hurting without a psychiatrist for its treatment clinic.
They haven’t been able to find anyone for the position, County Mental Health Director Stephen Valley said, which has left a gap in the mental-health services the county provides.
The agency’s staff psychiatrist/medical director resigned on Christmas Eve, Valley told the County Board of Supervisors Human Services Committee on Monday.
“We’re six or seven weeks into searching.”
After the meeting, he said their recruitment efforts are ongoing.
“We have run some ads in local papers, and we also have a job posting on the American Psychiatric Association website.
“We are also contacting medical schools in the region to see if they have any psychiatrists coming out of residency who might be interested.”
The psychiatrist/medical director they seek will render psychiatric and neurological diagnostic services for patients, provide patient treatment and serve as the leader of an interdisciplinary treatment staff.
There’s a shortage of psychiatrists, in general, Valley said, but especially in rural areas
“It’s a real problem, particularly up here in the North Country. We have to attract people to the North Country with what a great quality of life we have here.”
The Essex County Mental Health Clinic in Elizabethtown is intended to serve Essex County residents who are in need of mental-health services for a range of diagnoses.
Valley said after the meeting that their part-time psychiatric nurse-practitioner had doubled her work schedule to two days a week, and they will increase their tele-psychiatry contract one additional day to handle the clinical coverage while they look for a replacement.
“The difficult part is that the demand for psychiatric care was greater than the supply even before the former medical director left us,” he said by email.