County Mental Health Information Goes Online

Apr 26, 2004
The Post-Standard

SYRACUSE, N.Y. - Onondaga County launched a Web site last week to help people find answers to questions about mental health and drug abuse.

"The Network of Care for Behavioral Health (Web site) will ensure they find what they need," County Executive Nicholas Pirro said during a news conference Thursday.

The Web site - onondaga.ny.networkofcare.org - is free. It offers information about mental health services, including local treatment centers and insurance companies, medical journal articles, support groups and links to other resources.

The site also tracks state legislation that deals with mental health, disability and drug abuse issues, and provides access to state legislators' e-mail addresses.

The county used $15,000 in state money to pay Trilogy Integrated Resources, a California-based company, to build the Web site. The county will pay $1,500 a month for maintenance of the site, Pirro said.

Bruce Bronzan, a former California state legislator, is president of Trilogy, which has built about three dozen similar sites throughout the country.

"It helps family members find the right information at the right time," he said.

Information on the site is available in several languages and includes updates on community events and news articles about mental illness from around the country.

Lisa McChesney, who has been found to have an eating disorder and a borderline personality disorder, said Thursday she thought the site would help patients and families.

"I think it's an empowering tool for our community," said McChesney, who lives in Syracuse and works for a behavioral health advocacy group.

McChesney asked Bronzan how the information would help people who don't have access to the Internet.

Bronzan said he understood the concern, but he added that a lot of people seeking mental health treatment have access to computers.