COOPERSTOWN _ The psychiatric crisis center at Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital in Cooperstown, which recently recognized its one-year anniversary, plans to hire a psychiatrist specializing in the treatment of children and adolescents, according to a media release.

The crisis services were started Feb. 15, 2008, and filled a void created by the termination of psychiatric services at A.O. Fox Memorial Hospital in Oneonta months earlier, the release said.

Fox Hospital has no psychiatrists on staff or affiliated with the hospital, Fox officials said Thursday. A shortage of psychiatrists and increased costs for running the adolescent and adult psychiatric units led to the end of services in 2007.

Since opening, Bassett's psychiatric crisis center has helped more than 1,200 patients, most of whom are adults, the Bassett release said. Fifty-two were children age 12 or younger, and 154 of the individuals who came to the crisis center were adolescents.

"The New York State Office of Mental Health and the directors of community services for Otsego, Chenango, Delaware and Schoharie counties asked Bassett to step in and provide psychiatric crisis services when the other center closed because there was a clear need,'' Dr. Celeste Johns, Bassett's chief psychiatrist, said in a prepared statement. ``That's even more apparent now. We immediately exceeded expectations, seeing an average of five people a day, and there is no sign that trend is going to let up."

Bassett hired several psychiatric nurses aides and social workers and two additional psychiatrists to meet needs, officials said. There are six psychiatrists on staff, the release said, and Bassett is recruiting to hire more, at least one specializing in treatment of children and adolescents.

The psychiatric crisis center hot line number is (877) 369-6699 or 431-5412 and is available 24/7.

Anyone experiencing a psychiatric crisis during the day or after hours may go to Bassett's emergency department in Cooperstown, the release said, or to the nearest hospital's emergency department, where a patient may be stabilized and transferred.

During daytime hours, county mental health clinics can provide ongoing psychiatric care and conduct crisis evaluations, the release said.

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