Mental health leader retiring

Harry Cook is retiring as president and CEO of Behavioral Health Services North.

Harry Cook is retiring as president and CEO of Behavioral Health Services North. Photo by Stephen Bartlett.

“We have developed a lot of programming that is consistent with local values,” Cook said.

His retirement is effective the beginning of 2013.

A regional search is bring conducted for a new president and ceo.

“We want to thank Harry for his tenure as CEO of BHSN as it has grown and strengthened under his leadership in its services to our North Country residents,” said Dr. Raymond Domenico, Chair of the BHSN Board of Directors. “Our hope is to find a successor as equally caring and experienced as Harry, who shares our future-focused vision and our mission to strengthen individuals, families and community life with our multiplicity of services.”

Cook said he leaves as the healthcare environment rapidly changes.

One of the issues that has driven Cook personally is the fact that people with any kind of vulnerability living in rural areas have higher rates of problems than those in suburban areas.

There are real challenges in rural areas, he said, especially access to services.

Much of the work requires a willingness to step back from one’s self to work around an issue.

“It draws you out of yourself and gets you up every day,” Cook said.

The economy also increases the difficulty of the work. Money is tight and with funding cuts, employees have not received raises in four years.

He has enjoyed the work and the challenges and is eager to hand it off to someone else.

“My wife says I owe her 30 years of backlogged housework,” Cook said.

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