It’s in the Petraro genes to help others

New mental health clinic opened in East Rockaway


Annie Petraro was tired of seeing mental health needs not being met with the same urgency as physical health so she got together with Michael Krugolets and opened their own nonprofit mental health clinic in East Rockaway.

The business, Eclectic Psychotherapy, opened on Jan. to serve people in Lynbrook, East Rockaway, and surrounding communities. The mission of the clinic is to give local communities quality mental health services, regardless of age.

“We were noticing that during the pandemic, people didn’t have insurance that cover mental health needs,” Petraro said. “So we wanted to open a clinic where there’s a physiatrist, therapist, group therapy, family therapy, socialization group for kids and take all insurance.”

Petraro said that during the pandemic, she noticed that people need much more mental health support. She said it’s unfair for people to charge $300 an hour for mental health services when it should be included under insurance or given at a reasonable price.

“The clinic is under a bigger umbrella nonprofit called United Hearts of New York,” Petraro said. “And its mission is to serve people from as young as five, obviously with their parents, at play therapy all the way to the senior population.”

At the clinic, there are special groups for kids who are experiencing bullying and/or grief. There are also groups about couples therapy, student athletes, and complicated family situations. Petraro’s goal is for the members of the clinic to come out of their sessions “strong mentally on the other side.”

“Every month, we will have socialization nights with school-aged children from kindergarten all the way to 12th grade,” Petraro said.

A socialization night occurred two weeks ago where the business collaborated with the organization Be Strong to help prevent bullying, suicide, gain mental health support.

“One of our rooms at the grand opening was dedicated to Be Strong as a inclusion and socialization room,” Petraro said.

Another room was dedicated to the Nightbirde Foundation, which was formed in honor of Jane Marczewski, aka Nightbirde, who brought hope to many through her journey with breast cancer

“The Nightbirde mission is one of hope,” Petraro said. “Not only did she give people with cancer hope, but she gave people mental hope.”

The idea to dedicate a room to the Nightbirde Foundation came from Petraro’s son Joe, who was friends with Marczewski and made it his goal to help the foundation in any way he can. Joe sends the foundation the funds made from one of the books that he publish.

“Joe definitely inspires me,” Annie said. “He was at one of our meetings one day and he was like ‘let’s dedicate the rooms. We should make the rooms special like maybe in memory of someone’.”

Joe is also associated with the Be Strong organization so both rooms that were dedicated were his idea.

“These collaborations have been great for us because those organizations do such good and now when people go to them, they are aware about our clinic in East Rockaway,” Annie said.

Within the next few months, Petraro and Krugolets plan to open another facility in Lynbrook for adult day care where seniors can have therapy sessions, but also socialize with fellow neighbors.