TO THE EDITOR: I am highly disappointed by the State Office of Mental Health’s decision to close the Children and Adult Units at St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center.
Despite the hours of positive comments, it is apparent that OMH didn’t hear us. If OMH officials were truly listening, they would have decided to expand the facility due to the record of quality care provided.
According to the OMH website, St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center had a 93 percent rating, tying for first place out of 16 facilities when it came to quality-care indicators for adults and children. Some of the other facilities that are slated to remain open fell notably below SLPC’s score.
Under the new plan, children will have to travel Utica, and that certainly doesn’t serve our youth well. North Country kids who come from working families are at a significant disadvantage. Parents may not be able to take time off from work to help their child recover.
OMH touts an elimination of the catchment areas, indicating you can get treatment at any facility in the state that you would like. While that may initially sound appealing, what that really means is that you have the right to travel even farther away. Does anyone think most of our citizens are going to be able to afford that?
Common sense would dictate that this facility should remain open. We can win this battle based on merits alone. When all the facts are made known, Gov. Cuomo could act to correct this bureaucratic blunder.
Take the time to get the facts and talk to your neighbors, friends and family about what is at stake.
Let’s get to work to create a brighter future for the people of the North Country.
St. Lawrence County
Board of Legislators