Citizen Advocates opens behavioral health urgent care center in Malone

From left, Jeremy Darman, deputy commissioner, Office of Mental Health; Suzanne Lavigne, director of community services, Franklin County; Jonathan Carman, district director for U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik; Assemblyman Billy Jones; Citizen Advocates board member Paul Goodrow; Citizen Advocates President and CEO James Button; Citizen Advocates Vice President and COO Kati Jock; Citizen Advocates board member Marc Gitlitz; Mark Thayer, director of Central New York Field Office, Office of Mental Health; Citizen Advocates board member Brock Arnold; Citizen Advocates board member Felix Tam; and Harison Place board member Greg Langdon complete a ribbon cutting to officially open the Malone Behavioral Health Urgent Care Center Friday morning. (Provided photo — Trevor Buchanan, Malone Telegram)

MALONE — More than 70 guests representing a broad range of community leaders, partner agencies, elected officials, educators and state officials gathered at 125 Finney Blvd. Friday for a ribbon cutting marking the official opening of a new, state-of-the-art behavioral health urgent care (BHUC) center by Citizen Advocates Inc (CAI). The center is consistent with other new facilities recently opened in Ogdensburg and Watertown.

In a press release issued Friday, CAI officials said the new, expanded clinic is a welcoming, home-like environment where children and adults have access to a full range of clinical services and supports in separate, safe and secure settings that promote individual health. The additional space, and separate designated wings for both adults and children, is in direct response to the emerging need for mental health and addiction services throughout northern New York.

The center is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, officials said, because a behavioral health crisis rarely happens during normal business hours. As a 24/7 facility, every person has immediate access to a robust range of outpatient clinical services and supports that promote individual health while in the community, the release stated.

No referral or appointment is needed, which further increases the accessibility of the center to people in need.

The 22,000-square-foot building, a former Army Reserve Center purchased by Citizen Advocates in 2015, was the home to CAI’s administrative offices until May 2022. The $2.8 million project took eight months to complete, officials said. It employs roughly 34 people, including physicians, psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners, nurses, therapists, case managers, peer specialists and customer support representatives.

The Malone Behavioral Health Urgent Care Center includes spaces for children and adults suffering from acute behavioral health crises. (Provided photo — Trevor Buchanan, Malone Telegram)

The mental health and addiction treatment services available to all ages at the Behavioral Health Urgent Care Center include medication management; outpatient ancillary withdrawal services; adult and children stabilization care; individual, group and family mental health and addiction counseling; peer support services; care coordination; smoking cessation; and access to services via telehealth.

“Our newest location is near and dear to our hearts, and an important part of our story,” president and CEO of CAI James Button said prior to the ribbon cutting ceremony.

“To say we’ve waited for a long time for this would certainly be an understatement.”

“The Malone Behavioral Health Urgent Care Center is a culmination of dedicated and forward-thinking individuals who believed there was a more effective way to address emergent mental health or addiction crises in Franklin County,” director of Franklin County community services Suzanne Lavigne told attendees at the ribbon cutting. “By eliminating barriers to care, community members now have immediate access to life-saving treatment offered by a skilled and talented team of health professionals.”

CAI representatives thanked state and local officials for their help in making the center a reality.

“We are exceedingly grateful to our partners at the New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) and Office of Addiction Supports and Services (OASAS) for encouraging and guiding us in blazing the trail that led to the amazing facility we have before us today,” said Kati Jock, vice president and COO of CAI.

State Assemblyman Billy Jones, D-Chateaugay Lake, attended the ribbon cutting and said the center was a welcome and necessary addition to human services in Franklin County.

“James (Button) and his team continue to step up for our community, and the collaborative effort that you’re putting on really is wonderful,” Jones said during the ceremony. “We can’t continue to work in silos; we need to collaborate.

“Time and time again, we could see how this was needed. I can only congratulate you on your success.”

After the ribbon cutting, guided tours of the new facility and light refreshments were offered to visitors.

To learn more about Behavioral Health Urgent Care at Citizen Advocates, visit www.CitizenAdvocates.net/bhuc-now-open.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $4.75/week.

Subscribe Today