Mental health agency opens dialog with neighbors

In a meeting with local merchants and residents, Albert Einstein College of Medicine’s Sound View Throgs Neck Community Mental Health Center has agreed to work with the community to address whatever concerns may arise and become good neighbors.

Community Board 10 hosted a meeting in which district manager Kenneth Kearns and SVTNCMHC executive director Thomas Betzler exchanged views, and listened to commentary from some of the local residents and the Westchester Square merchant’s community.

The meeting, which will hopefully be the first of many, was held at the center, located at 2527 Glebe Avenue on Thursday, December 4 and included much of the key staff at the facility, which provides mental health services to the community at large.

“Westchester Square is undergoing a massive revitalization – with the creation of a Business Improvement District,” Kearns said to Betzler. “It will wind up having a completely different look. How do you integrate your patients into the larger community, with a business district that is struggling but will ultimately succeed?”

Kearns said that Soundview is one of 15 similar separate facilities in the small area stretching behind Westchester Square.

This includes a new facility being built for individuals with mental impairments by the Post Graduate Center for Mental Health, a separate organization not affiliated with Soundview Throgs Neck Mental Health Center that will be a 48-unit housing unit on Lyvere Street.

“This impetus for this meeting came about because of a community meeting at Doyle’s Pub several weeks ago where local residents brought up several issues,” Kearns said. “We want to have a dialogue to bring the community and this facility together. We want to demystify it for members of the community.”

There is talk of putting together a “facility monitoring committee” – comprised of the facility’s staff, neighborhood residents and businesses, as well as the larger business and political community – to help the facility and its neighbors help one another.

“We want to have a direct line with the providers of the services to the community, so if any issues do arise, they can deal with their own clients and determine how best to help them,” said Joe Regina, secretary for the Association of Professionals and Merchants of Westchester Square.

“This is just the starting point to reaching out to the other providers in the area.”

Mental health

More from Around NYC