Sen. Ritchie is tireless St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center supporter, advocate
Tuesday, December 10, 2013 - 6:56 am

To the Editor:

In response to “Toothless tiger,” published by the Watertown Daily Times Nov. 21, Sen. Patty Ritchie should be applauded for her continued efforts to weigh in on the mental health needs of our North Country community.

If we cannot count on our elected leaders, on whom can we count? Ritchie has gone the distance for this worthwhile cause. She has been at the forefront of the fight to save St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center Services by joining the SLPC Task Force, and by starting an online petition to save the center.

She also provided postcards and window placards to her constituents to shine light on the need for accessible mental health services in the North Country.

When Ritchie heard that there was no OMH “Listening Tour” scheduled for the North Country, she made some calls and made it happen. This was the best-attended listening tour that OMH hosted throughout the state.

When Ritchie heard that the Senate and Assembly Hearings on Mental Health Services were not scheduled to occur in the North Country, she advocated strongly for a North Country venue and it happened. At the hearing Ritchie spoke eloquently about the need for retaining and expanding mental health services in the North Country.

Whether the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center Task Force events have been large or small, Ritchie has been involved. She plated out spaghetti dinners for those waiting in line at the Knights of Columbus spaghetti dinner benefit, which brought in over 700 people.

I have seen Ritchie working for me, and I have seen her working for the people of the North Country. She has advocated tirelessly for those suffering with mental health challenges.

Maybe the reason she has been successful in getting dignitaries to notice the North Country is she has some insight into how to maneuver the political tides to best advantage the citizens she represents.

Ritchie has my support to carry on and to work her magic in the weeks to come. I am very thankful for her presence and for her advocacy for those suffering with mental illness.

Ritchie deserves the respect she has earned. If the bill that Ritchie sponsored, S.5986 the Freeze Unsafe Closures Now Act, slows down the train that is running down the broken track, I’m behind her all the way.

The local Public Employees Federation Council 249 knows she is walking the walk and talking the talk when it comes to sving our services at SLCP.

Virginia E. Davey,

Council Leader Public

Employees Federation

Division 249