Mental Health & Addiction › NuHealth - Nassau Health Care Corporation

Mental Health & Addiction

Every year, one out of four Americans suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder. These problems can range from mood disorders like depression all the way to severe schizophrenic episodes. Add to that the challenge of treating widespread drug and alcohol abuse and it becomes clear why NuHealth’s inpatient and outpatient programs in Mental Health and Addiction are so important. Our multidisciplinary staff of psychiatrists, psychologists, clinical social workers and other mental health professionals help thousands of patients each year cope with mental disease and recover from substance abuse.

  • Nassau University Medical Center is home to Long Island’s largest inpatient psychiatric treatment center, capable of caring for more than 180 patients daily, including those with the severest mental disorders.
  • The Psychiatric Emergency Department is the only separate, self-contained emergency unit in Nassau County for people in acute psychiatric crisis.
  • More than 3,000 patients each year receive treatment in our outpatient and inpatient substance abuse programs.
  • NuHealth’s mental health professionals are actively working to bring important information on mental illness and addiction out into the communities we serve, and providing counseling services in our Family Health Centers.

Von Tauber Institute for Global Psychiatry

The Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at NUMC is honored to sponsor the Von Tauber Institute for Global Psychiatry which is dedicated to studying the phenomenon of globalization in the delivery of sensitive and culturally competent care to Long Island's multiethnic patient population.

Read about The Von Tauber Institute for Global Psychiatry

Contact Information

Appointments: (516) 486-NUMC (6862)

Executive Staff:

Chair:  Nyapati Rao, MD, MS
Constantine Ioannou, MD
Vice Chair for Clinical Affairs
Jacob Sperber, MD
Vice Chair for Education and Research
Dayo Alalade, PhD
Director of Performance Improvement
and Special Review
Mark Lerman, DO
Director of Adult Inpatient Psychiatry
Kenneth Spitalny, MD
Director of Ambulatory Mental Health
Bruce David, MD, JD
Director of Correctional Mental Health Services
Jason Kornrich, PhD
ABPP, Psychologist-in-Chief
Kathleen Stimmler, LCSW
Director of Psychiatric Social Work
Linda Walsh, CTRS
Director of Therapeutic Recreation


Adult Inpatient Psychiatric Services

For those suffering from serious psychiatric illnesses, and especially those at risk of harming themselves or others, NuHealth’s three inpatient adult general psychiatry units at Nassau University Medical Center provide a safe, therapeutic haven. Here, a multidisciplinary team of mental health professionals works with victims of psychiatric disorders such as:

  • Schizophrenia
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Major Depression
  • Dissociative Disorders
  • Panic Disorders

We respect the privacy, comfort and individuality of our patients at all times, and try to provide a calming, positive healing environment. We also recognize that a patient is not defined solely by the psychiatric disorder he or she suffers. Every member of our professional staff is trained to recognize the genetic, biological and cultural influences on behavior, as well as psychosocial stressors that might have contributed to their patient’s voluntary or involuntary commitment, such as physical or emotional trauma, grief, and economic and interpersonal pressures.

Multi-Pronged Therapeutic Approach
Patients in NuHealth’s Adult Inpatient units at Nassau University Medical Center are offered a combination of individual and group psychotherapies to help meet their personal needs and address their particular psychological problems. We also encourage the involvement of family members, because family dynamics can play an important role in certain conditions, and can be an important factor in helping patients return home as soon as possible. In addition to pharmaceutical therapies, patients are offered an array of other services, which may include:

  • Art Therapy
  • Behavioral Modification
  • Music Therapy
  • Nursing Care
  • Psychological Testing
  • Individual and Group Psychotherapy
  • Recreational Therapy
  • Social Work Interventions

All services are provided by board certified psychiatrists, licensed psychologists, certified social workers, certified recreational therapists, registered- and licensed-practical nurses, and patient care assistants, all of whom are highly experienced at working with this challenging population. Working as a multidisciplinary team, the dedicated professionals in NuHealth’s Adult Inpatient Psychiatric Units at Nassau University Medical Center are saving lives, reducing human suffering and restoring balance to those battling severe psychiatric illness.

Clinical Staff
Constantine Ioannou, MD Vice-Chair for Clinical Services
Jacob Sperber, MD Vice-Chair for Education and Research
Mark Lerman, DO Director of Adult Inpatient Psychiatry
Kenneth Spitalny, MD Director of Ambulatory Mental Health
Damir Huremovi, MD, MPP Director of Psychosomatic Medicine

Child & Adolescent Inpatient Psychiatric Services

Few things are as heartbreaking as the need to place a child or teen in an inpatient psychiatric unit, even if only for a period of observation. That's why NuHealth's child psychiatric specialists, nurses and other mental health professionals go out of their way to make both our young patients and their families feel as comfortable and cared for as possible.

The two separate inpatient psychiatric units for children and adolescents at Nassau University Medical Center are staffed with well-trained, experienced and empathetic professionals who will evaluate your child and help him or her cope with a troubled mind. Each unit is designed to provide a cheerful sense of security and home, with warm pastel colors and familiar Disney-style themes on murals throughout. Families meet with the treatment team frequently and play an important role in the healing process. Specialized services provided by our mental health professionals include:

  • Anger Management
  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy.
  • Consultations with dieticians, pediatric gastroenterologists, and pediatric endocrinologists
  • Coping Skills Training
  • Group, Individual and Family Therapy
  • Medical evaluation
  • Pharmacotherapy
  • Psychodiagnostics
  • Psychoeducation
  • Substance Abuse Awareness Counseling

In addition, a licensed school teacher provides an on-site classroom experience for our young patients five days a week, helping ensure that time away from school is still time spent learning and exploring. Our multidisciplinary staff also coordinates closely with schools, case managers, foster care agencies, and the courts. Above all, our prime concern is the well-being of each individual child as we guide them toward a happier, more stable future.

Clinical Staff
Meenatchi Ramani, M.D. – Director, Child and Adolescent Inpatient Psychiatry Services
Nicholas Forlenza, Ph.D. – Unit Psychologist
Charlotte Poland, LCSW – Unit Social Worker
Deanna Hill, RN – Nurse Manager
Meredith Callaghan, ATR-BC, LCAT – Art/Recreation Therapist
Jean Fulmer, MA-ARTH – Art/Recreation Therapist

Drug & Alcohol Addiction

Substance abuse remains one of the most challenging problems of our times, wreaking emotional and economic havoc on patients and their families, and costing our nation more than $1 trillion dollars each year in lost productivity, health care costs and other effects on our national economy.

Drug and alcohol abuse is a major factor in poverty, violent crime, academic underachievement, soaring health care costs, family breakup, child abuse, homelessness, teen pregnancy, work problems, and AIDS.

At the same time, NuHealth’s substance abuse counselors and other professionals recognize that drug and alcohol abuse is a personal struggle against an implacable disease. Our goal is to help those suffering from drug and alcohol addiction find their way back to sobriety and better functioning, and develop ongoing strategies to avoid relapse.

Chemical Dependency Detoxification (DETOX) Unit
The Detox unit at Nassau University Medical Center helps people safely withdraw from alcohol, opiates and other addictive drugs in a controlled medical environment. Both the Detox and Chemical Dependency Rehabiliation Units are closed units on the hospital’s recently renovated 10th floor. There, our multidisciplinary team of physicians, psychologists, chemical dependency counselors, social workers, nurses, nutritionists and clergy provide not only help, but also hope for those affected by chemical dependency. Along with medically-managed detoxification, patients are educated about addiction, with particular stress on detoxification as only the first step in treatment. On average, patients complete Detox in five days, but all treatment plans are tailored to best facilitate each individual’s own process of recovery

Above all, the staff of NuHealth’s Chemical Dependency Detoxification Unit at Nassau University Medical Center strives to motivate patients to continue treatment and do all we can to see that our patients are placed in an appropriate inpatient or outpatient program as soon as they are ready for discharge.

To make an appointment or learn more about NuHealth’s Chemical Dependency Detox program, call (516) 572-6394.

Chemical Dependency Rehabilitation Unit
The 30-bed Chemical Dependency Rehabilitation Unit houses a 28-day hospital-based program designed to help substance abusers of all kinds achieve sobriety and learn to stay that way. Our multidisciplinary staff works closely with every patient, helping each to understand the impact of drug and alcohol abuse and the personal psychosocial factors that lead them to seek their drug of choice. Services include:

  • Addiction Counseling and Education
  • Comprehensive Psychiatric Evaluations
  • Family Education and Support
  • Individual and Group Therapy
  • Nutritional Counseling
  • On-Site 12-Step Fellowship Meetings
  • Recovery Support Groups
  • Recreation Therapy
  • Relapse Prevention Skills
  • Special Interest Workshops in such areas as:
  • Anger Management
  • Men’s and Women’s Health Issues
  • Self-Esteem
  • Spirituality

Our psychiatrists, nurses, licensed social workers, credentialed addiction counselors and other professionals also provide full medical evaluation and arrange consultations with specialists as needed. Most important, the staff at NuHealth’s Chemical Dependency Rehabilitation Unit helps patients organize continuing treatment and obtain referrals for essential support services – because we know well that the journey to freedom from substance abuse is often long, difficult, and accomplished in fits and starts.

To learn more about admission to the Chemical Dependency Rehabilitation Unit, call (516) 572-9419.

For more information about Outpatient Substance Abuse Programs at Nassau University Medical Center and NuHealth Family Health Centers, call (516) 572-9402

Clinical Leadership
Jo-ann Fuina, LCSW Substance Rehabilitation Program Coordinator
Kevin Coleman, LCSW Detox Program Coordinator

Outpatient Behavioral Health Services

Adult Ambulatory Mental Health

NuHealth's Outpatient Mental Health Center at Nassau University Medical Center is one of the largest and longest standing programs of its kind in Nassau County, with an average of 700 enrolled clients being treated in any given period. This multi-service counseling center is housed in its own three-story building (known as the J Building) on NuHealth's East Meadow NUMC campus, and provides a variety of outpatient mental health services for adult, couples and families. The Ambulatory Mental Health Center has traditionally provided a safe haven for those making the transition from NuHealth's inpatient psychiatric programs back into the stresses of the outside world. Today, our counselors provide essential, ongoing help for those struggling to overcome all manner of psychiatric disorders, including:

  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Bipolar Disorders
  • Depression
  • Dissociative Disorders
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Panic Disorders
  • Post Traumatic Stress
  • Psychosocial Disorders
  • Schizophrenia

Our patients come from many sources, including self-referrals, referrals from our inpatient units and medical professionals at NUMC and other health providers, as well as from NuHealth's Family Health Centers and various county and non-profit agencies. The professional staff of the Ambulatory Mental Health Center at Nassau University Medical Center includes psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, recreational therapists, and nurses, as well as psychiatry residents, psychology interns and externs, and social work interns who make important contributions to the clinic on a daily basis.

Treatment Goals & Philosophies

At NuHealth's Adult Ambulatory Mental Health Center, our top objective is to help our clients set and achieve personal goals that will help them enjoy a better quality of life, from improving self-esteem and overcoming personal tragedies and family problems to increasing personal productivity, establishing healthier relationships, and finding renewed joy in outside hobbies and interests.

Our treatment and operational philosophies emphasize our client's strengths over their weaknesses, and respects their time and personal needs. NuHealth's therapists return patient calls with patience, and meet with families when appropriate and agreed to by the client. While we have adopted the latest and empirically validated pharmacotherapy into many of our clients' treatments plans, we also employ a variety of supportive and psychodynamic therapy techniques to help patient to gain insight into their personality and their problems. We also offer research tested therapy protocols for specific psychiatric disorders, including:

  • Behavior Therapy for panic disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorders.
  • Relaxation Therapy for those struggling with generalized anxiety disorder and other stress-related problems
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy to modify the self-injurious and those with severe mood disorders.

To make an appointment with NuHealth's Adult Ambulatory Mental Health Services,
please call (516) 572-6822.

Clinical Staff
Rajvee Vora, MD Director, Ambulatory Mental Health
Joanne Tripp, RN RN Administrator, Ambulatory Mental Health

Child and Adolescent Outpatient Behavioral Health Services

Our newly opened, state-of-the-art NuHealth Therapy Center for Children, Adolescents & Families serves children and adolescents, ages 4-23 years, and families who are struggling with emotional, behavioral, environmental, and medical issues. We utilize a family-driven, youth-guided, culturally and linguistically competent, strength-based approach to help restore psychological, physical, social, and educational/vocational functioning.

We offer several empirically-based, clinically-proven treatment interventions, including:

  • Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment for Childhood Disruptive Behavior Disorders
  • Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy
  • Infant Mental Health, including parent-child dyadic therapy
  • Functional Family Therapy
  • Anger Management Group Treatment for Adolescents
  • School Phobia

To help our children and families achieve their goals, we provide the following services:

  • Individual Psychotherapy with Parent Guidance
  • Family Therapy
  • Group Therapy
  • Psychiatric Services
  • Social Work Support
  • Psychological/Neuropsychological Evaluations

To make an appointment at NuHealth's Therapy Center for Children, Adolescents & Families,
please call (516) 296-2670.

Clinical Staff
Sally Ann Graham, PhD Director, NuHealth Therapy Center
Kenneth Spitalny, MD Director, Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
Marisol Caputo, Intake Coordinator
Christine Cavallaro, LCSW, Social Worker
Laura Luzi, LCSW, Social Worker
Jennifer Zodan, PhD, Psychologist

Psychiatric Emergency Department

When severe emotional trauma or acute psychotic episodes overwhelm a patient or loved one, NuHealth’s Psychiatric Emergency Department (PED) at Nassau University Medical Center is the only separate and self-contained emergency room in Nassau County ready to care for those in crisis. The Psychiatric ED is fully-staffed and open for referrals 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Our multidisciplinary professional staff is always ready to provide expert emergency psychiatric care for victims of acute emotional or psychological trauma, just as the staff of NUMC's Level I Trauma Center stands ready to treat those with severe physical injury.

In the PED, patients meet with psychiatrists, psychiatric residents, psychiatric nurse and clinical social workers. Despite their psychological state, we do all we can to make our patients feel they are in a safe place where their confidences will be kept and every effort will be made to listen to their concerns and respect their wishes regarding treatment. The PED staff also invites input from family and outside professionals, such as the patient’s personal physician, therapist or case manager.

Despite the acute care environment, we always strive to maintain the highest possible display of respect and professionalism to the patient as a form of treatment in and of itself. In addition, we view empathy and positive interactions with both patients and their loved ones as an important part of a successful approach to emergency psychiatric therapy. Among the tools we use to diagnose and stabilize patients in acute psychiatric distress are:

  • Detailed interviewing and multi-modal data gathering
  • Thorough medical evaluations to rule out neurovascular problems, adverse reactions to medications, and other diseases and disorders whose symptoms might appear to be psychiatric in origin.
  • New psychotropic medications to alleviate psychological pain.
  • Crisis counseling skills to provide immediate coping strategies to help the patient deal with psychosocial stressors contributing to admission to the PED.
  • Discharge planning and referrals to appropriate inpatient or outpatient services.

Throughout their stay, we make every effort to inform our patients of their rights, calm their fears, consider their preferences and respect their dignity.

To obtain a referral to the Psychiatric Emergency Department, call (516) 572-6822

Clinical Staff
Lisa Jacobson, LCSW Administrator, Psychiatric Emergency Department