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Sen. Patty Ritchie is leading the fight to keep the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center open. Photo NYS Senate
Sen. Patty Ritchie is leading the fight to keep the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center open. Photo NYS Senate

Community to rally for St Lawrence Pysch Center

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More than 300 people were registered to attend a meeting at the St. Lawrence psychiatric center in Ogdensburg Wednesday morning, as the New York State Office of Mental Health is making a stop on its "listening tour," as it considers changing the way mental health services are delivered.

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Reported by

Julie Grant
Reporter and Producer

Details are sketchy, but Senator Patty Ritchie of Heuvelton says she was told the state might shut down some facilities.

Ritchie says if the Ogdensburg Center is closed, its 180 patients and their families would have to travel to Syracuse for care.

"The next nearest facility is over 2 hours away. It's not just St. Lawrence County, but St. Lawrence, Franklin, Clinton, Essex. This is hugely important to the whole North Country. And also because of the 550 jobs there, it would be completely devastating to the area if the facility closed down."

The Office of Mental Health Services has denied that it plans to close facilities. A spokesman tells the Watertown Daily Times that speculation is premature before Acting Commissioner Kristen Woodlock completes a tour of centers around the state.

Ritchie wants the community to show support for the St. Lawrence hospital. She's collected over 2000 signatures on a petition to keep it open.

"We're actually going to have somewhat of a rally when the commissioner comes in. But we want it to be very positive, welcoming her, show her what the facility for 123 years has offered to the community."

More than 70 people have registered to speak at the meeting in Ogdensburg today.

 

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