“I want to thank the Suffolk County Department of Health Services for their tireless work they put into creating this webpage,” said Legislator Anker.
Recently, Legislator Sarah Anker joined Suffolk County Department of Health Services Commissioner Gregson Pigott, Suffolk County Division of Community Mental Hygiene Services Director Cari Faith Besserman, Suffolk County Department of Information Technology and members of the Suffolk County Addiction Prevention and Support Advisory Panel outside at the William H. Rogers Suffolk County Legislature Building to announce the launch of a Suffolk County webpage dedicated to addiction and mental health resources, www.suffolkstopaddiction.org
. The Suffolk County webpage was created by Resolution No. 34-2021, introduced by Legislator Sarah Anker, which was unanimously passed earlier this year. The legislation directed the Suffolk County Department of Information Technology and the Department of Health to collaborate to create a comprehensive webpage dedicated to addiction, mental health, substance use disorder prevention, and rehabilitation services. The webpage features sections that include important emergency numbers, substance use disorder and mental health information and resources, and a list of treatment providers compiled by the Suffolk County Division of Community Mental Hygiene Services.
“I want to thank the Suffolk County Department of Health Services, the Division of Community Mental Hygiene Services and the Department of Information Technology for their tireless work they put into creating this webpage,” said Legislator Anker. “With the concerning rise in addiction and mental health issues after a challenging year, our hope is that this webpage will help increase the accessibility of the possibly life-saving resources that are available through the Suffolk County Health Department and improve our ability to reach those who are in need of help in our county.”
“We welcome any vehicle that will get information into the hands of people who need it, and we hope that those who are most in need will take advantage of the many mental health services offered in Suffolk County,” said Suffolk County Department of Health Services Commissioner Gregson H. Pigott, MD, MPH.
The need for the creation of the webpage was acknowledged during a public hearing of the Suffolk County Addiction Prevention and Support Advisory Panel. The panel was created via resolution 704-
2017 sponsored by Legislator Anker, which she drafted in response to the growing opioid and substance abuse epidemic in Suffolk County and across the nation. During the October public hearing, Victoria Sunseri, a Suffolk County constituent in the medical field, noted that it was difficult for providers to locate mental health and/or addiction resources for their patients. The panel members echoed the importance of providers being able to connect a person to treatment options and for residents to find important information in a user-friendly way. In response, Legislator Anker facilitated the creation of the webpage singularly dedicated to addiction and mental health resources and services.
“Throughout the pandemic, we have received a surge in calls from individuals seeking mental health resources from crisis intervention, to addiction rehabilitation,” said Victoria Sunseri. “Thanks to Legislator Anker and her support for the creation of this webpage, we can better serve the Suffolk County community by bridging the gap between private practice and public services referrals. This mental health hub will serve to empower individuals by reducing the time and frustration they might experience while seeking help appropriate to their needs and by streamlining reception of services through increasing the salience of who does what, where, and how.”
“I am grateful for the work of the Addiction Prevention and Support Advisory Panel members and the constituents who share their input at our public hearing meetings,” said Legislator Anker. “With the ever-evolving nature of the opioid epidemic in combination with the challenging circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is vital for us to continue finding new ways to combat addiction and mental health issues. The importance of collaboration and listening to the needs of those we aim to help cannot be overstated.”