Samaritan Hospital downsizes mental health services due to staffing crisis, impacting hundreds of people


Following the confirmation of the closure of their maternity unit, Samaritan Hospital say limited resources will force them to limit their ability to cover St Peter’s Healthcare Partners current outpatient mental health clinic extension and, for now, they will only serve the city of Troy.

In a statement, a spokesperson said in part:

“St. Peter’s Health Partners Outpatient Mental Health Clinic at Samaritan Hospital is a valuable community resource and one that will not be closing…I am currently without a prescriber and therapist, to refer them to care in the county where they live “.

Since January, 14 health workers at the clinic have resigned for a variety of reasons. This, in the midst of an industry-wide workforce shortage and growing need, has impacted their ability to care for patients beyond Troy. In addition to Rensselaer County, hundreds of patients in Albany, Saratoga, Schenectady, Columbia, Greene, Fulton, Montgomery, Warren and Washington counties have used these outpatient services.


“For those people who may be displaced, this is a huge loss,” says Rensselaer County Mental Health Commissioner Katherine Alonge-Coons. “Our concern is that this could increase the need for crisis services and could increase the need for hospitalization.”

At its capacity, the St. Peter’s Health Partners Mental Health Outpatient Clinic could serve approximately 2500 patients. The county mental health department has taken on patients who are in limbo, with Alonge-Coons saying their staff right now can handle the influx. For more information on accessing these services, click here.

To help ease the transition, the Capital Region chapter of NAMI says their peer support groups can also help with the transition for those seeking services. They take place on Zoom at 11am on Mondays, you can find more information by going to or by calling 518-588-6949. They also recommend calling the 988 mental health line.

“I am so sad that we have such a crisis going on,” says Mary Beth Honsinger, president of NAMI Capital Region. “We can’t get enough people into social work because there isn’t enough pay.”

The governor has earmarked $1 billion for mental health, but even with those funds, advocates are still pushing for higher wages, including raising the COLA for mental health providers to incentivize recruitment and retention.

“It’s one thing to have funding, it’s another to have the staff in place to be able to actually serve patients,” says Democratic Assemblyman John McDonald. “This funding will be helpful, it will provide some support. But, at the same time, it’s a workforce issue.”

Unity House of Troy CEO David Bach says they too are experiencing workforce issues, but continue to work with the county to help fill any gaps left by Samaritan Hospital’s limitations.


“Providing those services, making sure the [people we serve] having access to those services is, in some cases, as important as finding them food or a home,” says Bach. “People who don’t have family resources available all the time or real access to mental services rely on agencies like Unity House in partnership with Samaritan Hospital and other mental health providers.”

At this point, officials say the change in Samaritan Hospital’s services is temporary, hoping to expand after it is fully staffed again. When that will happen, though, is undetermined.

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