East End Mental Health in the Spotlight Again

Kids crying on the soccer field at Mattituck High School in 1994. Kurt Cobain had just died.
Blue on the soccer field.

Southampton and East Hampton towns are hosting their 12th annual East End Mental Health Awareness Day on Saturday, April 11 at Southampton High School.

The free day-long event features presentations, panel discussions and group workshops on topics ranging from the importance of peers in recovery to stories of resilience, finding inspiration through triathlons, mental health concerns in Suffolk County and finding help in a crisis.

The guest speakers for the day are Kristie Golden, Ph.D., Associate Director of Operations, Neurosciences, at Stony Brook Medicine, and Jeffrey Steigman, Psy.D. and Chief Administrative Officer with Family Service League.

They will discuss the new South Fork Behavioral Health Initiative ,which is bringing additional mental health services to the East End; and the Medicaid redesign, which will affect how health care is delivered for all of us.

East Hampton High School, which was rocked two years ago by a suicide in the school, has been one of the recipients of help from the South Fork Behavioral Health Initiative.

State Assemblyman Fred Thiele helped get $150,000 earmarked in the state budget last year for use as seed money to provide psychiatric services outside of school hours for young people on the South Fork and provide a mobile unit for psychiatric care.

The effort received more funding from local sponsors to bring that total up to $270,000 by the end of 2014. Mr.Thiele announced this week that $175,000 has been set aside for the program in the state’s 2015-16 budget.

Principal Adam Fine and school psychologist Ralph Naglieri presented some of their recent work to the East Hampton Town Board March 17.

Mr. Naglieri pointed out that the closest psychiatric emergency room to East Hampton is two hours away, without traffic, at Stony Brook University Medical Center, and prior to receiving crisis services this year students who were having a mental health emergency had to be transported to Stony Brook in the back of a police car if their parents couldn’t be found right away.

“Two years back, we felt we were a district in crisis,” said Mr. Naglieri. “We saw an increase in suicidal ideation and depression. I’m not sure what it was attributed to — the economy, society, social media.”

Mr. Naglieri said the district, with the help of the Family Service League, has been able to make it easier to provide crisis services at the school. He said since Sept. 3, 2014, the district has had to refer 22 students for crisis treatment, nine of whom required hospitalization and the rest of whom were treated by Family Service League. In addition, he said, 52 students were referred to the Family Service League for non-crisis assistance.

“Before, we had to send them to Stony Brook,” he said.

More information on East End Mental Health Awareness Day and advance registration is online at www.southamptontownny.gov/mentalhealthday. To request a registration brochure, call 631.702.2445.

 

 

Beth Young

Beth Young has been covering the East End since the 1990s. In her spare time, she runs around the block, tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

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