Health care professionals gathered on Tuesday afternoon to see NuHealth present the new Child, Adolescent and Family Outpatient Center at in East Meadow. NuHealth, which also manages the medical center’s operations, focuses on providing health care, including primary and specialty, to the communities they serve.
“This is a very exciting day for the department,” said Sally Ann Graham, PhD, director of the new mental health care facility. “This is really about collaboration because that is what the whole project was about.”
The center is located at in the Butler Building. It will be available to serve patients who are 4- to 21-years-old and are suffering from emotional disturbances. They will also have support available to parents and families with a child in need of psychiatric assistance.
Dr. Nyapati Rao, the Chair of NUMC’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health Science, explained that one out of every ten children has an emotional disturbance. He said that this could be displayed in a broad range of behaviors including hyperactivity, aggression, social withdrawal and learning difficulties. Research shows that families who have a child diagnosed with emotional disturbances have an increased rate of mental distress and violence.
“These sobering findings show the high need for psychiatric services for children,” Rao added. “However, on Long Island, like the rest of the country, there is a shortage of child psychiatrists. We at NUMC are very excited to be offering these much-needed services for the children, parents and families on Long Island.”
Speakers at the event stressed the importance of the clinic and the critical role it will play in enabling NUMC to offer full and comprehensive mental health care for all ages. Having an outpatient facility completes inpatient care and will also provide a training center for a variety of different types of health care professionals.
“This has been a vision of an integrated system of care,” New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services Commissioner Arlene Gonzalez-Sanchez said.
Services that will be offered at the clinic will range from individual psychotherapy to family and group therapy, as well as social work and evaluations.
“When you talk about the health of the community, nothing is more sensitive than the health of children,” said Dr. Steven J. Walerstein, who is the Executive Vice President for medical affairs and medical director at NuHealth. “The children in our community need access to support that deals with mental health, behavioral and substance abuse issues. They need to have access to those services and have them provided in an integrated and collaborative manner.”