Erie County Department of Mental Health, partners connect individuals leaving detention to comprehensive services
The Erie County Department of Mental Health, in partnership with the Erie County Sheriff’s Office and the Community for Greater Buffalo’s Racial Equity Roundtable, has created the Erie County Service Link Stop at 120 West Eagle St., Buffalo, to connect individuals leaving detention with a comprehensive set of services to help them stabilize in the community and lead better, healthier lives.
Established in the offices of ECDMH’s forensic mental health services, 14 participating agencies are on-site to assist individuals in identifying their needs and ensuring they are linked to resources in a wide range of areas including mental health, substance abuse prevention, health screenings and education.
“Having these services in place and immediately available when individuals need them diminishes recidivism and helps people get on a more stable track in the community, with better outcomes and better health,” Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said. “I thank Commissioner Mark O’Brien, former Commissioner Michael Ranney, and the entire mental health department team for working with our partners to make the Service Link Stop a reality.”
O’Brien added, “This endeavor is a successful outcome of a collaboration of a wide spectrum of individuals and organizations dedicated to the premise that second chances are possible and that we are all better served when we help individuals return to their communities with the supports for them to succeed.”
Director of Intensive Adult Mental Health Services Ronald Schoelerman said, “The Service Link Stop engages in shared decision-making in order to facilitate outcomes for participants that arrive through criminal justice involvement for community reentry. It also serves walk-ins for anyone in need for assistance in a safe and welcoming environment. We will continue to maintain a ‘no wrong door’ approach with recipients, providing a path toward increased stability with healthy outcomes.”
In addition to the Erie County Department of Mental Health, Erie County Forensic Mental Health and Erie County Sheriff’s Office, participating agencies on-site at the Service Link Stop include Spectrum Human Services, Fidelis Care, Back to Basics Outreach Ministries, Center for Employment Opportunities, Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York, Jewish Family Services, BestSelf Behavioral Health, Community Health Center Buffalo, Pathstones and Daemen College – School of Social Work and Sociology. Referrals to additional agencies are also available.
Erie County Holding Center Superintendent Tom Diina said, “Sheriff (Timothy) Howard and I are grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this new endeavor and will continue to work with our partners to link returning citizens with the services that they need as they rejoin our community.”
“Just as it takes the 'Wisdom’ of the villagers to raise a child, likewise does it take the many organizations under the Service Link Stop umbrella to provide the best comprehensive services to our returning citizens,” said Pastor Charles H. Walker II, reentry mentoring program director, Back To Basics Outreach Ministries.
The Service Link Stop is person-centered, meeting each individual “where they are” and offering opportunities for personal empowerment. Professionals work with individuals in a holistic way to identify and meet their various needs – personal, familial, educational, vocational, health and other needs, and then engage in shared decision-making and collective action to facilitate individual, organizational and community outcomes. The stop’s data-driven process uses information to guide case work especially as it relates to accessibility, programming and quality of care and focuses on being future-oriented in order to be more equitable and restorative and find solutions that lead to positive change.
For more information on the Erie County Department of Mental Health, visit https://www2.erie.gov/mentalhealth/.