Parents Fight To Save LI’s Only Inpatient Mental Health Facility For Children

DIX HILLS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A hospital to help troubled kids is on the chopping block as part of a sweeping plan to downsize New York State psychiatric facilities.

As CBS 2′s Carolyn Gusoff reported, parents are fighting to save Long Island’s only psychiatric hospital for children.

The Dolgoffs are on a mission to change minds after learning Sagamore Children’s Psychiatric Center in Dix Hills would be shuttered under the restructuring plan.

“It is akin to a criminal act,” Suzanne Dolgoff told Gusoff.

Their daughter Lara was a patient at Sagamore when she as 14 years old and suicidal.

“She had several episodes of incidents where she did try to kill herself,” Suzanne Dolgoff said.

The Dolgoffs said emergency rooms were not effective in treating Lara because she had borderline personality disorder.

Lara’s parents credit Sagamore with saving her through her teenage years.

The new plan by the New York State Office of Mental Health proposes sweeping changes to what some say is an oversized system that spends too much money on too few people.

Officials say New York’s mental health system is bloated and antiquated, based on an 1800s model that created asylums.

New York State’s mental health system is the largest in the nation, Gusoff reported.

The plan is to consolidate 24 state psychiatric hospitals into 15 community centers. None of them would treat children as in-patients on Long Island.

The 54 children at Sagamore would move to New York City hospitals.

Amy Leccese’s 15-year-old son is currently a patient at Sagamore.

“I’m a single working mother, I have 3 children,” she told Gusoff. “That would be impossible for me to do. As it is now, I go, I pick him up, I’m visiting with him constantly.”

Outpatient programs could save millions and some say it’s a better way to treat mental illness.

“It’s a great opportunity to take the money that we’re going …read more

Source: CBS local New York


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