Ben Rosen
Director of Public Information
New York State Office of Mental Health
518-474-6540- Office
518-859-4147- Mobile
benjamin.rosen@omh.ny.gov

September 28, 2016

Office of Mental Health Announces Grand Opening of Crisis-Respite House for North Country Children

Program Offers Safe Environment for Children Experiencing Behavioral Health Concerns and Family Crises; Will Serve 200 Children Annually

ALBANY, NY – The New York State Office of Mental Health today announced the grand opening of the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center Child and Adolescent Crisis Respite House, a new short-stay residential program for children in Ogdensburg, New York. The program provides a safe reprieve for children in crisis, as an alternative to inpatient psychiatric admissions. This program addresses an identified need for alternative and community-based mental health services in the North Country and builds upon the success of other crisis-respite programs developed throughout the state.

“Sometimes children dealing with behavioral health concerns need a short-term home away from home while they cope with a crisis,” said Office of Mental Health Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan. “This type of program gives the child and the family the ability to decompress and stop the escalation of problematic behaviors while avoiding more intensive services. It attempts to maintain a child’s normal routine while addressing a potential emotional or behavioral crisis that exists in the child’s life. Simply put, the crisis respite house will help keep children with their families, while giving both children and parents time to cool off.”

The six-bed respite house provides a homelike environment for children 10 to 17 years old who are experiencing problem behaviors or issues with family or friends. Available to children in St. Lawrence, Jefferson, Lewis, Franklin, Clinton and Essex counties, the program strives to address the crisis-at-hand while supporting the family and service provider’s efforts to keep the child in his or her current residence. It offers services such as crisis stabilization, medication education and training, family and peer support services, and parenting education. Youth served through the program transition back to their home after no more than two weeks at the respite house. Children can receive additional services or a transfer to inpatient care, if such services are deemed clinically necessary.

The Office of Mental Health (OMH) repurposed a building formerly used as housing for OMH medical staff members on the grounds of St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center. It offers a bucolic environment with river views and features many of the amenities of home, including child-friendly lounge areas, a full-service kitchen and individual bedrooms for residents. The remodeling process took approximately 15 months and added new fire monitoring and security systems to the property. It’s expected to serve 200 children annually.

Whenever possible, the child will be transported to his or her home school during the school year as well as other appointments in the community in order to maintain his or he normal routine. If attending school is not possible, OMH educational staff offer tutorial services.

The St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center Child and Adolescent Crisis Respite House is an OMH-licensed residential facility and the program is both no-cost and voluntary. Both the child and their family or guardian must agree to admission. Anyone involved in the child’s care can make a referral for admission. This includes parents, family members, school staff, social service agencies or emergency room personnel.

For more information about the St. Lawrence Respite or to inquire about a possible admission, call (315) 541-2433 or (315) 541-2434.

Pictures of the six-bed respite program can be viewed on OMH’s Flickr page: http://bit.ly/2crcgXh

 

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