Assemblymembers Gunther and Skoufis Announce OMH Will Continue Excellent Care in Orange County

May 10, 2018

Middletown – Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther (D,W,I-Forestburgh) and Assemblyman James Skoufis (D-Woodbury) announced Thursday that critical mental health care services in Orange County will continue. The New York State Office of Mental Health's (OMH) Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) Team and the Friendship Club will continue and grow with state employees. Gunther and Skoufis had been in discussions with OMH about expanding the programs.

The critical programs, which offer treatment, rehabilitation, and support services in Orange County, had faced an uncertain future because OMH struggled to find qualified candidates to fill its open positions. However, OMH has committed to redouble its recruiting efforts, rather than restructure. As a result, they will provide additional state jobs and increase their capacity to serve local residents.

“As Chair of the Assembly Mental Hygiene Committee, my priority is making sure people continue to receive the excellent care to which they are accustomed,” said Assemblywoman Gunther. “Not only will OMH continue to utilize the talents and expertise of those currently working on the ACT Team, this plan will actually add more positions and will increase access and availability for those who need services. I am so grateful to OMH, especially Commissioner Ann Sullivan, for listening and responding to the needs of our community.”

“The ACT Team and the Friendship Club provide necessary, life-saving services for individuals in immediate need of mental health support,” said Assemblyman Skoufis. “The work that these groups do needs to be recognized and their rights as employees need to be preserved. I'm pleased to have worked with Assemblywoman Gunther and Commissioner Sullivan to protect and expand the number of positions within the ACT Team and the Friendship Club. This decision will increase the number of essential jobs in our community while also allowing for a critical expansion of services for individuals in need of care.”

“We want to thank Commissioner Darcie Miller, Commissioner Sullivan, Assemblywoman Gunther, and Assemblyman Skoufis for their support and continued advocacy of the much-needed restoration of services promised for our community and individuals served,” said Christine Pettit, Nurse Practitioner and Supervisor of the Orange County ACT Team.