Representative Tom Reed (R-NY), State Senator Tom O’Mara (R,C,I-Big Flats), and State Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (R,C,I-Corning) today sponsored a community roundtable, “Crisis in Care: Mental Health Services in Rural Communities,” to bring together regional leaders for a discussion on the short- and long-term future of local mental health care.
The roundtable was held in the Yates County Auditorium and featured a panel of area leaders (see list below) in government, community development, education, law enforcement, and health care to examine the need and discuss strategies for providing mental health care in Yates County and the surrounding area.
In a joint statement, Reed, O’Mara, and Palmesano said, “We share the widespread concern and care over a growing crisis and the lack of available services to respond to ever-increasing needs for mental health care. Consequently, we appreciate this outpouring of community input. Rural communities and regions face unique obstacles to accessibility, efficiency, and cost effectiveness in this arena of care. Today’s roundtable highlights this community’s determination to face this challenge and find the best ways to address it.”
The area representatives said that community fears have been heightened since February when Finger Lakes Health announced that no new patients would be admitted to the 10-bed Inpatient Behavioral Health Unit at Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hospital in Penn Yan. They share community concerns that the lack of conveniently accessible, affordable, efficient, and cost-effective mental health care will worsen what is already a mental health crisis in Yates County and the rest of the region.
Since then, Reed, O’Mara, and Palmesano have urged Finger Lakes Health and the state Office of Mental Health (OMH) to work together to enhance the area’s mental health services.