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Citizen Advocates celebrates opening of Watertown Behavioral Health Campus


Celebrating the ribbon cutting to mark the opening of the Citizen Advocates Watertown Behavioral Health Campus were Assemblyman Scott Gray; Kim Benshoff, Upstate Regional Director for the Office of Addiction Supports and Services; Christina O’Neill, Chair of the Jefferson County Community Service Board; Tim Ruetten, Executive Director of the Jefferson County Community Service Board; James Button, President & CEO of Citizen Advocates; Wanda Hines-McGriff, Licensing Director, Central New York Field Office for the Office of Mental Health; Nance Arquiett, Citizen Advocates Board Member; Dallas Sutton, Citizen Advocates Board Member; Olivia Patterson, Community Affairs Representative for Sen. Mark Walczyk, and Michael Stadelmaier, District Director for Rep. Claudia Tenney.

New facility offers expanded access to mental health and addiction services in the region

NORTHERN NEW YORK – With a ceremonial ribbon cutting, Citizen Advocates officially ushered in the availability of expanded access to mental health and addiction services for the greater Watertown region.

The newest Citizen Advocates’ facility offers enhanced clinical care to confront the addiction crisis facing Northern New York. Whether it’s in the clinic setting or in the community, the services offered through the Watertown Behavioral Health Campus are tailored to provide individuals with the right care at the right time in the right place. 

The Watertown Behavioral Health Campus will offer a robust range of outpatient mental health and addiction services, and pending final approval, 24-hour access to behavioral health urgent care – no appointment needed. In the coming weeks, crisis residence services will be added to provide overnight stays for mental health or addiction support on a completely voluntary basis.     

The mental health and addiction treatment services available to all ages at the Behavioral Health Campus encompass:

  • Medication management
  • Outpatient withdrawal management services
  • Individual, group and family mental health & addiction counseling
  • Peer support services
  • Care coordination
  • Smoking cessation
  • Access to services via telehealth

“The clinical services that we provide at our new Watertown location are one part of the solution when it comes to addressing the mental health and addiction needs of the community,” said James Button, President & CEO of Citizen Advocates. “We need a comprehensive approach that focuses on interventions like stigma reduction efforts, Medication Assisted Treatment, recovery coaches, overdose kits and 24/7 access centers like the Watertown Behavioral Health Campus. At Citizen Advocates, we offer supports and services every individual needs to thrive in the community – whether that’s housing, supported employment, transportation, peer support or ongoing care coordination.”

“We are deeply grateful for the warm welcome we have received since first announcing our plans to open a clinic in Jefferson County,” said Deanna Smith, Chair of the Citizen Advocates Board of Directors. “Collaboration is one of the keys to success, and we look forward to partnering with a strong team of providers, advocates and community leaders as we strengthen and bolster our response to the behavioral health needs of the greater Watertown region and Fort Drum.”

“For those not familiar, Behavioral Health Urgent Care is a recognition that, more often than not, an individual’s need for treatment doesn’t fall between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.,” said Tim Ruetten, Director of Community Services for Jefferson County. “The integrated care model provided at Citizen Advocates’ new location represents how our community response to mental health and addiction is shifting, and in turn is enhancing the quality of life throughout Jefferson County – and beyond.”

Citizen Advocates’ Watertown Behavioral Health Urgent Care was recently awarded the Supportive Crisis Stabilization Center designation, to provide specialized crisis services in a home-like environment throughout a seven-county region of northern New York.

“As an organization that has been a trailblazer in crisis stabilization services since 2017, we are deeply grateful to the state of New York and our partners at OMH and OASAS for placing their confidence in us with this award,” said Kati Jock, Vice President and Chief Operations Officer for Citizen Advocates. “With construction complete, we are ready to leverage this unique model of care to continue reducing avoidable ER visits resulting in hospitalizations and decreasing the suicide rate in the communities we serve.”

In addition to the ribbon cutting ceremony, self-guided tours of the new facility were offered.  The building itself replaced a blighted piece of property with a new, modern clinic located at 650 State Street, Watertown. Key facts about the new Behavioral Health Campus are as follows:

  • Total square footage: 11,525
  • Construction timeline: 8 months
  • Project cost: $5.1 million
  • Number of employees: ~62 when fully staffed – physicians, advanced practice providers, nurses, therapists, case managers, peer specialists, and customer support

The clinic officially opens May 1 with initial hours of operation from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., pending state approval to operate 24 hours a day.

To learn more about the Behavioral Health Urgent Care services offered by Citizen Advocates, or to find the location closest to you, click here.