Melissa Staats, the deputy commissioner of the Department of Community Mental Health for Westchester County since 2009, will become commissioner effective July 6.
Staats will succeed Dr. Grant Mitchell, the commissioner since 2007, who has resigned to take a job as the associate vice chair for clinical services in the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center. Mitchell will retain his ties to Westchester government by continuing to serve as a volunteer on the county Community Services Board, which advises the department.
The Department of Community Mental Health plans, oversees and coordinates services for individuals – and their families – with mental illness, developmental disabilities and substance abuse disorders.
Staats, a resident of Sleepy Hollow, has been with the department since 2006, first as director of mental health and rising to deputy commissioner in 2009. Prior to that, she was president and CEO of the National Association of County Behavioral Health and Developmental Disability Directors, where, among other things, she developed county government public policy positions relating to mental health, addictions and developmental disabilities. Her other previous jobs include positions with the New York State Office of Mental Health and the New York State Conference of Local Mental Hygiene Directors. Staats holds a dual master’s degree in sociology and social work.
“I want to thank County Executive Robert Astorino for the opportunity to serve the residents of Westchester County in this expanded capacity,” Staats said. “I am confident that I can continue to advance the excellent reputation of the community services provided in Westchester County. It is an honor.”
For more information on the work of the department visit www.westchestergov.com/mentalhealth.