For the people of the North Country, the St. Lawrence Psych Center has been a “Center of Excellence” for more than 100 years. With today’s announcement, we are ensuring it continues to play a central role in delivering that quality and compassionate care, and serving our community.
Six months ago, the state Office of Mental Health announced that it was transforming mental health services in Northern New York. And for six months, members of this community—including clients, family members, employees and a far greater number of ordinary, concerned citizens—rallied, petitioned, organized and appealed for a better idea.
We set just three goals: maintaining inpatient mental health services in Northern New York; providing a stronger mental health safety net in our communities, and preserving and protecting critically needed local jobs.
Today, we achieved all three. With today’s announcement, we are assured that North Country families won’t have to endure an hours-long drive through dangerous winter storms to find appropriate care for our loved ones.
Aid Will be Used to Train Law Enforcement To Handle Incidents Involving Persons With Mental Illness
State Senator Patty Ritchie announced today that she has secured state funds for specialized training of law enforcement officers in the City of Ogdensburg to help them more safely and effectively respond to people experiencing a mental health crisis.
The state assistance will support the establishment of a local Crisis Intervention Team (CIT), which will be comprised of mental health providers and advocates, law enforcement officers, emergency services directors, and families of people with mental illness. The team will develop a curriculum and provide specialized training to help resolve potentially adverse situations involving people with mental illness and law enforcement.
“Many communities across the country are establishing Crisis Intervention Teams to train law enforcement officers to recognize different types of mental illness, to intervene appropriately and get the person the help they need,” Senator Ritchie said. “I’m pleased that this successful model is being brought to Ogdensburg so our local police can develop this expertise as well as create a safer environment for those with a mental illness as well as the entire community.