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Crisis mental health center coming to Fruit Belt neighborhood in Buffalo

By November 12, 2021December 15th, 20222 Comments

A new crisis center is coming to the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus with a focus on mental-health services.

The Respite & Recovery Center will open at 111 Maple St. in a building owned by St. John Baptist Church. The building housed a long-term residence program operated by Hospice Buffalo until 2015.

The collaborative project is led by Recovery Options Made Easy, a $6 million Olean nonprofit and aimed at individuals experiencing mental health crisis, said Shannon Higbee, CEO of ROME.

The facility will include four programs: mental-health urgent care operated with Spectrum Health & Human Services; mental-health renewal center in collaboration with Western New York Independent Living; short-term crisis respite program with 24/7, 28-day residential services; and a new intensive crisis respite, also with a 28-day program with medical integration.

Higbee said the intensive respite program fills a gap between lower-level, peer-run crisis respite and higher-end programs like the hospital-based comprehensive psychiatric emergency program (CPEP) at Erie County Medical Center.

“This is a brand new model no one is running in the state yet,” she said. “We’re filling a gap in the system.”

The program came in direct response to demand from the county to help 76 high-utilizers of these services, some of whom have been treated at the ECMC program as many as 70 times since the year began, but don’t meet admissions criteria.

“It’s a massive strain on the system, but individuals aren’t getting their needs met in the way that’s most appropriate,” she said.

The cost to build-out the 18,000-square-foot Maple Street site is about $475,000, plus $150,000 for furniture, equipment and startup costs.

Once open, many of the services to be offered are billable, which will make the center self-sustainable, Higbee said. “It’s a first-of-its-kind model, so OMH is looking pretty closely as a brand new model of crisis treatment.”