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Save the psych center

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To The Editor:

As longstanding volunteers in our community and as retired educators, we know thedebilitating impact that would result from any closure of the St Lawrence Psychiatric Center. During our careers we have seen the quality of services rendered to many individuals in the six northern counties of the state.

As a former senior administrator in the State University of New York system, I am more than familiar with the high value services and programs that are offered to the most at-risk population in our state. Several interventions helped several of our young students turn their lives around and offered much needed therapeutic and support services throughout the years.

Moreover, as as current member of the Board of Directors of Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center, I am keenly aware of the need to maintain and, yes, even expand, these vital services to the people of the northern most counties of our state.

Let us BUILD upon the excellent reputation for quality and cost effective service delivery that has long been a hallmark the the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center. The Office of Mental Health and the state would be well advisedto grow such an asset rather thanretrench it. Moreover, the need for service in this region has never been more critical. To abandon the least able, who are also the most geographically remote, would not only be be a suboptimal decision economically but also wreak a devastating blow to those who need the services.

We strongly encourage OMH to enhance the operational impact of the psychiatric center and establish it as one of the newly conceived Centers of Excellence.

Bryan and Joan Felitto

Ogdensburg

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