New York State to Open 24-Hour Emergency Mental Illness Care Spectrum Health, currently the only “Urgent Mental Health and Addiction Care Clinic” in Erie County, has seen a growing need for services since opening.

Governor Andrew Cuomo, in a speech on the upcoming budget last week, highlighted the need for more accessible mental health services.

“We set up 24-hour emergency centers. This is an unforeseen but very real by-product of COVID – the mental health, stress, isolation, addiction problems and domestic violence issues, “Cuomo said. “And we have to see it for what it is and we have to go about it.”

Spectrum Health’s Urgent Care Clinic on 1280 Main Street in downtown Buffalo opened just before the pandemic started last year.

Kevin Beckman, the facility’s managing director of clinic operations, said there were long unmet needs for quick access to quality care.

“We have case managers, we have a nurse, we have licensed therapists, and the whole purpose was to really get a broad perspective of this person under one roof,” Beckman said.

Anyone who needs psychiatric or addiction help can come by on the day of treatment and receive care. Beckman said they are studying the social determinants of health to connect everyone who walks through their doors to other community services.

“When we started this adventure, the original name of the project was Holistic Health,” said Beckman.

Riannon Martin, Director of the Clinic Program, believes that many essential medical services are interlinked.

“Trying to understand the underlying psychological symptoms could be compounded by medical interventions,” said Martin. “In my opinion, being able to offer these services is very important in order to understand and treat the individual as a whole.”

Both Beckman and Martin explain the importance of creating an inviting presence as you enter.

“When the person walks in, we have a sort of saying, ‘How can I help you?’ Law? I am very interested that this is the leading statement for us, ”said Beckman.

“But we usually have one of our admissions clinics tell them about the services and specifically what they will be doing for the services on the first day,” added Martin.

“The same day person will be able to get a good assessment to see where they are because of the same day services. And when it comes to housing, we have a dedicated case manager who can help. If the problem at hand seems more medical in nature, we have the nurse to help, ”said Martin.

There is also a psychiatric nurse and psychologist available during opening hours.

Beckman and his diverse staff admits that some have concerns about the personal costs of urgent medical care.

“Even if a person is unable to pay, we will not turn them away,” Beckman said.

Beckman said one demographic they got is local college students.

“We had a Far East student who couldn’t pay, couldn’t get medication, and couldn’t reach his home provider,” Beckman said. “We provided the script for this provided person who went back to the school counselor and said, ‘Hey, look, they could help us out here.’ So now we get a reason from the campus advisors when the students also need psychiatric medication. ”

Have a script filled. Get a physical. Connect with the right case officer for housing needs. Spectrum Health employees see a mental health and addiction emergency clinic as a bridge to accessibility.

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