New mental health clinic opens in Canton

United Helpers’ new Pillar Program office building, Canton, will hold an open house on Thursday. Christopher Lenney/Watertown Daily Times

CANTON — A former bank has been converted into a mental health clinic that can link clients to other support services, including subsidized housing.

Last year, United Helpers Management Co. purchased the former KeyBank building off Route 310 in the University Plaza.

“The space is great,” said Stephen E. Knight, the company’s chief executive officer. “We basically gutted the building and redesigned it for clinical services and there is room to expand there.”

The new Behaviorial Health and Life Skills clinic opened about three weeks and already has about 75 clients, with more being accepted, he said.

A grand opening event is scheduled for 1 p.m. Thursday. Visitors are welcome to take tours following a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The new clinic is similar to one United Helpers opened three years ago on Hamilton Street, Ogdensburg.

“What sets us apart is that we provide a lot of wrap around services,” Mr. Knight said. “Most of the time people with mental health issues need more than one service.”

Giving examples, he said clients may lack adequate housing or have physical health problems.

By using a coordinated care approach, the clinic can connect clients with a primary care physician and toward subsidized housing. United Helpers operates 20 housing units for low-income elderly and disabled residents throughout the county.

The clinic is staffed by five clinicians, including counselors, a psychiatrist and a psychiatric registered nurse. Three other employees will handle billing and other office duties.

Services will be provided throughout St. Lawrence County through home and school visits as well as office visits.

The clinic, near the Burger King fast food restaurant, is located near stores and the plaza is one of the stops on the public bus route, he said.

Also, Canton is centrally located in the middle of the county.

Mr. Knight said United Helpers felt it was important to help reduce the significant lack of mental health services in the north country.

In 2017, the state’s mental health commissioner convened meetings attended by numerous mental health professionals.

“There was a worry that the north country was underserved. We felt it was important for us to step up to the plate,” he said.

The clinic is being supervised by Michelle Montroy, vice president of operations and Angela Doe, director of mental health services.

THE GIST OF IT

n WHAT: New mental health clinic, University Plaza, Canton

n OPERATOR: United Helpers Management Co.

n CONTACT: 315-386-0264

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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