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Overview

For more than a century, South Oaks Hospital has been dedicated to its mission of providing optimal treatment for individuals suffering from acute psychiatric illness or addiction. A 202-bed facility located on the border of Nassau and Suffolk counties on Long Island, New York, South Oaks is known for delivering exceptional, individualized care in a compassionate, confidential setting.

We recognize that mental illness and addiction are difficult and frightening disorders, and offer an extensive range of programs and services to assess, support and treat patients and improve their functioning. For individuals experiencing acute illness, inpatient hospitalization is available, with a variety of specialized units (child, adolescent female, adolescent male, adult, senior adult and adult chemical dependency). When less-intensive care is appropriate, we offer a partial hospitalization program, outpatient programs focusing on chemical dependency and substance abuse, and a comprehensive suite of outpatient behavioral health services.

At South Oaks, our goal is to support the physical, emotional and mental well-being of our patients and help them reintegrate back into the community.

Executive leadership

Carolyn Sweetapple, PhD, MBA, RN, CPA – Executive Director

Youssef Hassoun, MD, FAPA – Medical Director

Joanne Bentson, DNP, RN, CPHQ – Chief Nursing Officer

James Gravina, MBA – Associate Executive Director, Operations

Arber Kokoneshi, CPA – Associate Executive Director, Finance

Brian Pritchard, LCSW – Associate Executive Director, Ambulatory and Addiction Services

Maahila Singh, MS, SPHR, SHRM-SCP – Associate Executive Director, Human Resources

Healthcare professionals from South Oaks Hospital are available for speaking engagements and can address a variety of topics related to behavioral health, wellness, prevention and recovery.

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History of South Oaks Hospital

In 1881, a group of Long Island’s community leaders met to discuss the need for a facility to care for people described, in the vocabulary of the time, as “nervous invalids.” From its origins as a long-stay sanitarium, South Oaks has evolved into a progressive psychiatric hospital that emphasizes evidence-based, patient-centered care. Today, South Oaks is part of Northwell Health, a network of collaborators, research pioneers, entrepreneurs and educators—69,000 strong—creating a brighter tomorrow for millions of patients each year.

Milestones in the history of South Oaks Hospital include:

1880s

On March 1, 1881, community leaders meet at a home in Amityville, New York, to discuss plans to form The Long Island Home Hotel for Nervous Invalids. Soon after, an agreement is reached to purchase 14 acres of land in Amityville “for the purpose of constructing an institution.” The first patient is admitted early in 1882.

1890s

A new cottage is built to accommodate seven patients. After a series of name changes, it will eventually be known as Hope House.

1900s

Stanton Cottage is built to accommodate a single patient, and an additional parcel of land is purchased, adding 30 acres where crops and livestock can be raised; wild geese, pheasants and ducks also thrive. A three-story brick facility for women opens, and is named Norton Cottage.

1910s

Care and treatment of the mentally ill during this time consisted largely of rest, relaxation, fresh air, good food and pleasant activities. Activities included dances, socials, tennis on the grass courts, sailing, bicycling and duck hunting. In 1912, The Long Island Home purchased property near the Main Building, which included a large home, two barns and several outbuildings.

1920s

Searle Cottage is opened for male patients; two wings are added to Stanton Cottage.

1930s

The Long Island Home survives the Great Depression through careful financial management. In 1931, Sunrise Highway is built on land that had been part of the hospital’s grounds, and the following year The Long Island Home constructs an underpass so patients, employees and visitors can walk from one side of the property to the other without crossing the busy highway.

1940s

With the patient census expanding, a new administration building is erected in 1948. Griffing Hall houses offices for the facility’s administration, doctors, social services, admissions and medical records.

1950s

With the introduction of psychotherapeutic drugs in the early 1950s, symptoms that had not readily responded to other measures could be controlled. During this decade of major change in the treatment of mental illness, the hospital was also changing rapidly, transitioning from a long-stay sanitarium to a progressive psychiatric hospital. In recognition of this shift in purpose and approach, The Long Island Home becomes South Oaks Hospital. During these years, recognizing a community need, the board of directors convert Searle Cottage into a nursing home. Searle Cottage is renamed Broadlawn Manor Nursing Home.

1960s

With growing worldwide interest in the potential use of the hallucinogen lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) in the treatment of mental illnesses and addictions, the South Oaks Foundation in 1965 sponsors the International Conference on LSD and Psychotherapy, attended by more than 300 psychiatrists from the United States, Canada and Europe. The hospital also helps the local community organize and fund a low-cost, nonprofit community mental health clinic. In the years since, that facility, Sunrise Clinic, has helped thousands of Long Island’s residents. 

1970s

In 1970, South Oaks Hospital establishes Hope House, a specialized inpatient unit for young men and women addicted to drugs. Other programs and services follow in quick succession. In 1971, Bailey House, an alcoholism detoxification unit following the precepts of Alcoholics Anonymous, opens. The same year, the hospital dedicates its adolescent pavilion, treating young people between the ages of 13 and 20. In 1972, South Oaks launches a training program for alcoholism counseling, one of only a few such courses in the country. The Institute of Alcohol Studies at South Oaks is chartered in 1972. With demographic studies showing the American population to be aging, South Oaks begins construction of a new 200-bed facility, and in 1974, the Broadlawn Manor Nursing Home and Health Related Facility opens.

1980s

South Oaks re-dedicates Stanton Cottage as Sage House, a rehabilitative program for young men aged 13 to 20 with a history of abusing alcohol and drugs. Shortly thereafter, the hospital launches a program for the treatment of compulsive gambling, becoming one of the first in the country to offer such services. The program includes the South Oaks Gambling Screening (SOGS), a tool for the detection of compulsive gambling problems. Developed by South Oaks staff members, SOGS has been translated into several foreign languages, and is available to healthcare institutions around the world at no charge. 

During this decade, Broadlawn Manor increases its capacity to 320 beds and becomes one of the first hospitals in the country to offer specialized units for the care of individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s-related dementias. 

1990s

Broadlawn Manor Nursing Home and Health Related Facility becomes Broadlawn Manor Nursing Care Center and in 1995 opens its medical-model/social-model daycare programs to support frail and elderly individuals during the day while allowing them to remain active in the community. In 1999, The Long Island Home becomes a 501 (c-3) not-for-profit organization, underscoring our community orientation.

Today

South Oaks Hospital continues to be a pioneer in the treatment of mental illnesses and addictions. A 202-bed behavioral health hospital, South Oaks serves a wide range of patient populations and provides treatment for psychiatric illness and substance use disorder, as well as offering vocational programs, school-based mental health services and other programs that support the well-being of our community.