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Task Force addresses Lions Club

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On Thursday evening, members of the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center Task Force addressed the Ogdensburg Lions Club, speaking in opposition to the plan put forward by the state Office of Mental Health to move inpatient services downstate.

“The Lions Club invited members of the task force to come and talk with them about the current status of the psychiatric center, the OMH plan and what they could do,” Patrick J. Kelly, CEO of the St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency, said.

Mr. Kelly said the task force hopes to convince Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo that keeping the psychiatric center local is crucial in order to provide quality care to north country residents.

OMH has proposed consolidating existing mental health facilities into regional “centers of excellence.”

“We need to continue to demonstrate to Albany how unfair this plan is, how important these services are and how much better the OMH plan could be made by including this part of the state with a regional center of excellence at the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center,” Mr. Kelly said.

People looking to help out should contact their state representatives, write letters to the governor and display signs and t-shirts supporting the task force.

Signs and t-shirts opposing the proposal by OMH can be purchased at the Ogdensburg City Hall.

“Every member of the club that we spoke with was upset and concerned,” Mr. Kelly said. “I think that this plan presents a disservice to all of New York state.”

Mr. Kelly said people are also encouraged to bring written stories of their experiences with the psych center to the Ogdensburg City Manager’s office to be included with the task force’s support literature.

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