About Sagamore

Sagamore Children’s Psychiatric Center, which opened in 1969, treats seriously emotionally disturbed children of Nassau and Suffolk Counties, who range in age from 9 through 17 and require a structured inpatient program.  Located in Dix Hills, Sagamore is operated by New York State’s Office of Mental Health (OMH) and is accredited by The Joint Commission.

The children admitted to Sagamore suffer from severe psychiatric disorders, including deep depression, debilitating anxiety, and psychosis.  Often their lives have been scarred by trauma such as sexual molestation, physical abuse, bullying, death of parents, abandonment, neglect, and intense family conflicts.  With histories of suicide attempts, self-mutilation, physically explosive outbursts, social isolation, substance abuse, and runaway, these children require intensive and comprehensive treatment.  The inpatient teams of psychiatrists, pediatricians, nurses, psychologists, social workers, teachers, recreation therapists, and child care workers ensure an integrated approach to providing a therapeutic environment.

Sagamore satisfies the needs of Long Island communities by treating: (1) youngsters from psychiatric emergency rooms who are insurance-poor and who are turned away from community hospitals; (2) youngsters transferred from community hospitals because they need more treatment than a short-term acute care hospital can provide; and (3) youngsters referred from Family Court whose behaviors are suspected to be the result of mental illness.  Upon admission to Sagamore, each youngster receives comprehensive medical, psychiatric, psychological, and educational evaluations.  Results are used to guide treatment, both before and after discharge.  It should be noted that on 7/10/13, the day of OMH’s announcement to close Sagamore, nearly 20 children were on a wait-list to be admitted.  Furthermore, Sagamore’s wait-list has ranged from 15 to 20 since OMH reduced the hospital’s capacity from 69 to 54 in May of 2012.

Children’s length of stay varies, depending upon treatment needs.  Over the past 10 years, and with the exception of those children remanded by the Court for a 2-week evaluation, the length of stay has consistently averaged 3 – 4 months.  Moreover, stays at Sagamore are frequently shorter than at comparable hospitals for long-term treatment.  It is important to note that, once stabilized, children earn day and full-weekend passes to enhance family and community connections.

Family participation in treatment is strongly encouraged and in many cases is a key factor in a successful course of inpatient care. Families are able to: (1) visit with children both on weekends and after school on weekdays; (2) participate in family therapy sessions; (3) attend “Family Night,” which is held approximately once monthly and offers interactive social activities; and (4) attend annual holiday parties.  Visits from siblings, aunts, uncles, and grandparents are encouraged in order to help youngsters stay connected and feel hopeful.  With OMH’s planned closure of Sagamore, Nassau and Suffolk children who require inpatient hospitalization would be admitted to facilities in Queens, the Bronx, or farther. As a result of the great distance, family involvement would decrease significantly, thereby negatively influencing treatment progress.

Sagamore’s educational program operates 5 days weekly from 9:15AM through 3:30PM. Children earn credit towards their high school diploma, as grades are recognized by all Nassau and Suffolk school districts. Also, Sagamore offers children the opportunity to sit for New York State Regents Exams on site. At community hospitals, youngsters are either provided educational services for only 2 to 3 hours daily, or not at all. Children at community hospitals cannot earn credit to satisfy their home district’s requirements.

Sagamore provides a therapeutic recreation program that promotes physical, social, and creative growth.  Children partake in exercise groups, relaxation groups, music and drama clubs, and arts and crafts clubs.  Once stabilized, children participate in daily supervised outdoor activities and attend educational trips to the Intrepid Museum and Sony Wonder Museum, as well as recreational trips to Adventureland, Splish Splash, movie theaters, parks, go-kart racing, etc.

121 Responses to About Sagamore

  1. Mary says:

    Sagamore has helped numerous children. We need to keep helping!! Save Sagamore!!

  2. Mikaline VanKuren Albany NY says:


  3. Steven Guerra says:

    Why would we turn our backs on Long Island children who need help. Sending them to Queens or the Bronx would be counter intuitive to treatment. Is this closure another move by NY state to sell off property to developers to fill tax gaps?

  4. Gretchen says:

    The Long Island RCE Team (appointed by Governor) has been charged with creating the “blue print” of services for Long Island and this TEAM needs to here from SUPPORTERS of Save Sagamore. Here is a direct link to submit your VOICE- http://tinyurl.com/SubmitCommentTODAY

    The Long Island RCE Team meet Sept. 26th and October 30th and it did NOT support keeping the 54 inpatient beds at Sagamore. (minutes from meeting are on OMH website) . They should speak for us not the Governor.

  5. anthony santulli says:

    please dont close this hospital in suffolk county its so verty needed

  6. Lori Landry says:

    Please save Sagamore – we need this hospital to help the many children here on LI that need its services!!

  7. Lauren Klutch says:

    Equal Rights

  8. Carol Cristy says:

    These kids need local help. The USA gives to many countries even if they despise us so why not help american children

  9. Bill Kennard says:

    I still can’t believe that the State of New York is considering this when it becomes increasingly clear each day that much of the violence that we all read and hear about is linked to a failure to identify and treat those suffering from mental illness at an early age. How many school shooting tragedies could have been avoided had the need for mental health treatment been identified early on? How many tragic suicides that cripple families and communities for years could be avoided? Why is it that many young people find themselves incarcerated and costing New York State millions of dollars each year when early intervention and treatment could have kept them with their families and clear of the criminal justice system? New York needs to expand the availability of locally-based mental health care, not withdraw it. New York’s reluctance to reconsider its position puts the Long Island community at risk and denies young people suffering from mental illness access to the locally-based care and support that they, their families, and the Long Island community need. Incredible.

  10. pete says:

    Sagamore has been a great middle school for thousands of children and we need to save it.

  11. Laura says:

    Save Sagamore!
    Our children need this local help.

  12. Harry Koenig says:

    Today watching 60 minutes there was a segment on the lack of children’s psychiatric clinics in various states. They interviewed the senator from virginia whose son jumped and stabbed him then killed himself. This program should be shown to governor Cuomo

    • Suzanne Dolgoff says:

      I agree completely. I too watched this segment and it brought tears to my eyes as I relived all the ER visits I made with my daughter and all tge short term admissions where she received no therapy and was them discharged because “she was no longer a danger to herself.” Only to have to return to the ER often hours later. I hope that Gov Cuomo is shown this video. No amount of “community programs” will save these poor sick children that will end of taking their lives or others due to the lack of treatment available.

      • Kevin says:

        I lived that revolving door at the ER so many times. It stopped at Sagamore. Without Sagamore many more families will live that over and over again. As a taxpayer I understand money is tight, but Gov Cuomo is being “Penny Wise and Pound Foolish” and the real cost cannot be measured in dollars and cents.

  13. andrea says:

    This place needs to be saved…. Children are the future and for this place they help these children and their future. If any place that should be shut down it is Nassau Medical Center in East Meadow. That place makes people worse and or kills. The psych ward for children is a joke and disgusting. They medicate just so they don’t have to bother. They make things up etc. Sagamore actually helps and get these kids on the right doses and medications that they need or don’t need. Keep Sagamore open. These kids need it, they need a place to get well and education is also important and at Sagamore, they get their school in as well. If the state closes this down, they will have a lot of problems because parents wouldn’t have a place to bring their child to. Again SAVE SAGAMORE IT IS IMPORTANT!!!

  14. Emily Bradley says:

    We have lost so many children due to mental health issues. We should not have to lose more. Please keep this facility open.

  15. Bobbi.. says:

    Please do your best to Save SAGAMORE it is imperative to the Welfare of the CHILDREN and their Families that are in constant need. This Facility should be saved & up & running with full staff & able to accommondate all needs …God Bless

  16. Donna says:

    The true test of any civilization is how it treats its most vulnerable members. Please do not let Long Island turn its back on young people who are struggling with mental illness.

  17. Anonymous says:

    As someone who attempted suicide twice, cut herself, & suffered horrible depression, this place helped me when I was in middle school. I’m almost 21 now & I can honestly say I wasn’t the worst girl there but Sagamore helped me with my family, gave me structure, & made me feel like I had something to work toward in the three months I was there. This place helps people of all types & it’s honestly pissing me off that they’re going to close it.

  18. Samantha G says:

    I went to Sagamore in 2012 and I stayed there for 5 months. What makes Sagamore different from all the other psychwards and outpatient treatment centers is the fact that it’s an actual State Hospital. Unlike other places I have been to, Sagamore provides a 6 hour day of school everyday, where the kids attend classes that are suited for their academic level. The fact that they have the best professional staff, nurses, and doctors to help ensure safety is all a patient can ask for when being admitted to a treatment facility. I was hospitalized 6 times, and if I hadn’t went to Sagamore on that last time, I probably wouldn’t be here right now. Since Sagamore is the state hopspital, it’s easy for parents and families all throughout New York to come and visit their kids here. By even talking about closing Sagamore and sending kids to Bronx and Queens is a joke.

  19. Sal says:

    I did my internship at Sagamore for 4 months! i loved it, I loved the staff and the kids, It is a very positive atmosphere for individuals to improve. I hope they don’t close it down because we need such facility in Long island. Plus, the location is perfect.

  20. daniel keezer says:

    I’ve been in patient in Sagamore be four and it really helped me I was 7 years old when I first went thereyou guys should not shut it down it helps young kidsplease keep it open

  21. Living with a mental illness, are also abc associated to mental illnesses.
    Explaining to the wider public, and things most of us can’t even imagine, are so desperately unhappy to the
    point they take drugs and sometimes even commit suicide? And the good news has to do with a person’s mental state.

  22. Annmarie Alfieri says:

    AnnMarie T. Sullivan Commissioner quotes ” The budgeted capacity of Sagamore Children’s Paychiatric Center remains at 54 beds, although the average daily census has ranged from 40-44, as detailed in our monthly reports to the Legislature on this topic.”
    As per her letter dated August 13, 2014 to the Honorable Philip Boyle. She sent this letter instead of showing up at the Forum held by Boyle.
    According to my census children remain in acute care facilities while on a waiting list for months to get into Sagamore. The units are shut down because of lack of funding from the state. Her letter and her inhumane attitude are a clear disgrace to the mentally ill children on Long Island.
    My daughter was confined to Mather acute care for months while on a waiting list to get into Sagamore. Why confine a child to a facility designed to hold a child for only two – three weeks when the units at Sagamore remain closed and children continue to be placed on a list. The staff at Sagamore are amazing and the Commisioner is a disgrace to humanity.
    Annmarie Alfieri

  23. I was from a broken home at age 5 whenmy dad died..I was placed in foster care where I suffered abandonment from my mother, severe control, not allowed to play like other kids, sexual abuse repeatedly, physical abuse, isolation, and the list goes on. At age 8 I started cutting myself to release the pain I was in…in 3rd grade I swallowed a bottle of Tylenol to kill myself…in 7 the grade my school counselor noticed my bloody arm and also confiscated my supply of razor blades…my security blanket u could say..sent me to the psyche and I was admitted to sagamore…there I learned that people do care…the staff was wonderful to me..the teachers were caring…the work program gave me value…especially on Thursdays when Bob kaler would pay the kids…I learned that my life had value…my social worker Judy helped me not to go back to that foster home…and placed me in little flower,s group home…because of sagamore…I am alive..yes I still have issues..but I am in therapy and not ashamed to get help…I also have friends for life also…I am now 47.. please don’t let our long island children down..please keep all the programs open or even start them back up…please as the broken child that was there I beg you..

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