Ogdensburg wants news about the psych center; the state’s not talking

New York State Office of Mental Health Acting Commissioner Kristin Woodlock and her team listening to speakers from the North Country at today's meeting at the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center in Ogdensburg. Photo: Julie Grant

New York State Office of Mental Health Acting Commissioner Kristin Woodlock and her team listening to speakers from the North Country at today’s meeting at the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center in Ogdensburg. Photo: Julie Grant

There’s a lot of speculation out there about the future of the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center in Ogdensburg. The NY Office of Mental Health is considering closing a number of state hospitals, saying that at 24, New York has more than 3 times that of any other state.

Acting Mental Health Commissioner Kristin Woodlock visited Ogdensburg last week, as part of her “listening tour” of hospitals, and she got an earful from the community – including concerns about the possible loss of care for patients, and of more than 500 jobs.

Woodlock said a decision could come as early as Monday. But Monday came and went without word from the state, and people want to know what’s going happen.

The Watertown Daily Times speculates that “no news could be good news” for the Ogdensburg facility. Robert McNeil, chairman of the St. Lawrence River Valley Redevelopment Agency said, “I’m optimistic.” He said the Commissioner’s visit was a success, “There was a lot of good testimony there.”

I spoke with Ben Rosen, spokesman for the NY Mental Health Office, this afternoon.  He wouldn’t give any information about what or when we might hear from the state, despite the community’s anxiety.  It sounds like no news isn’t necessarily good or bad.  It’s just no news. We’ll keep you posted as soon as we hear anything…

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2 Comments on “Ogdensburg wants news about the psych center; the state’s not talking”

  1. Mervel says:

    I agree no news is no news particularly dealing with Albany. This is a big deal, those are good jobs and I honestly think we need the facility. If anyone has ever visited the people staying there they will understand, where are they going to go?

    There is no plan the de institutionalization of the 80′s and 90′s showed us the error of simply throwing people on the street with no plan or support, it created homelessness and was very cruel. . I am for community based help over institutions, except that the state cut those also. In Ogdensburg there would literally be no place for these people to go they would be vulnerable and homeless.

  2. Mervel says:

    Plus maybe the other states are wrong? Its not like we have some sort of whiz bang model for the care of the mentally ill in this country.

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