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New Mental Health Services Available To East Hampton Children, Teens

South Oaks Child and Adolescent Center of East Hampton starts up at the East Hampton Healthcare Center.

A new child and adolescent mental healthcare center is opening in East Hampton.

The South Oaks Child and Adolescent Center of East Hampton will be located in Suite D at the East Hampton Healthcare Center off Pantigo Road. South Oaks Hospital located in Amityville is affiliated with the North Shore-LIH Health System and is recognized for quality care and innovative approaches in addressing mental health issues in the region, according to the announcement from the East Hampton Healthcare Foundation on Friday.

The foundation donated the space for the mental health services program, which will be integrated into Dr. Gail Schonfeld's pediatric care practice at East End Pediatrics.

"Dr. Schonfeld led the drive to establish the new integrated services, along with the help of a task force comprised of local concerned citizens and mental health professionals," the statement explained.

“Over the past several years, our task force members have worked together to address the pressing need for professional mental health services for the underserved youngsters in our community," said Sheila Rogers, the director of the East Hampton Healthcare Foundation. "In the past, the formal mental heath system on the East End lacked the capacity to provide these services and much of the burden of care fell on the shoulders of Pediatricians and Family Practice physicians with little or no mental health support available. The East Hampton Healthcare Foundation, in support of its ongoing mission to improve healthcare services in the Town of East Hampton, is pleased to have helped facilitate the integration of pediatric and adolescent mental health services for the community.”

In 2011, the New York State Health Foundation awarded a grant to facilitate the planning for integrating mental health services into primary care practices. In 2012, the New York State Office of Mental Health also gave a grant. With the help of Schonfeld and Dr. George Dempsey of East Hampton Family Medicine, whose practice is also located in the East Hampton Healthcare Center, "the dream of having an integrated mental health clinician devoted to the care of youngsters has become a reality," the statement continued.

The foundation said clinicians will primarily serve Dr. Schonfeld’s patients in "an integrative, holistic approach to care."

Kristie Golden, the vice president of Ambulatory and Community Services at South Oaks Hospital explained that “The goal is to ensure that each child’s physical and mental health are addressed together. This approach is highly supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics and many other medical associations.”

The foundation is hopeful that other primary care physicians will explore ways to integrate mental health and substance abuse services into their primary care offices.

The South Oaks Child and Adolescent Center of East Hampton will be open on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday by appointment only and currently serves patients of Dr. Schonfeld and Dr. Dempsey.

Are you glad to hear about this new service? Tell us what you think? Leave a comment below.

Andrea Gurvitz March 28, 2013 at 01:13 AM
What an achievement! So needed in the town.

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