New Riverhead Facility Aims To Curb Crime, Address Mental Health

Lisa Finn

RIVERHEAD, NY — After a dramatic uptick in mental health issues sparked by the pandemic, Suffolk County Sheriff Errol Toulon and elected officials are set to unveil a new facility in Riverhead Thursday aimed at addressing the escalating need — and curbing crime.

The new facility, to be located on East Main Street, will help East End and Long Island residents with mental health concerns and address a gap in mental health services caused by providers plagued by backlogs, Toulon said.

Officials at a press event Thursday will discuss statistical data regarding crime and mental health and how availability of mental health services could prevent crimes.

According to national statistics, Toulon said, about 44 percent of those in locally-run jails have been diagnosed with a mental illness. The World Health Organization reports that those who contracted COVID-19 are 39 percent more likely to experience depression and 35 percent more likely to show incidents of anxiety disorders in the months after diagnosis, Toulon said.