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Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center and the National Alliance on Mental Illness Buffalo & Erie County are responding to a growing need for mental health care stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between August 2020 and February 2021, there has been a significant increase in U.S. adults reporting symptoms associated with anxiety or depressive disorder and adults with an unmet need for mental health care. In youth, the increase is more severe sparking a troubling increase in suicide risk.
NAMI, which serves all of Western New York, provides a unique range of programs and services that are free to families coping with and/or overwhelmed by a loved one’s mental health diagnosis and needs. NAMI program leaders are trained, certified family members with experience of a loved who has mental illness.
The partnership with NFMMC includes seminars, support groups, a help line (716-226-6264), and a family-to-family eight-week class that provides emotional support, education and practical resource information on navigating treatment, legal and basic needs for a loved one’s stabilization and recovery.
NAMI provides families with tools and skills for communication and stress reduction by:
√ Creating a safe, confidential place to ask questions, and learn and practice strategies for maintaining the family’s well-being as they are affected by a loved one’s illness.
√ Providing resources to plan for and respond to mental health crises and/or risk of suicide.
√ Providing information to improve effectiveness in advocating for a loved one.
Currently, services are being offered online, by email, and by phone. For Niagara County families without access to computers, or unable to have privacy in their home to participate confidentially, Memorial offers loaner computers and confidential space to participate at the medical center, as well as transportation to and from seminars, support groups and classes.
It is anticipated programs will be offered fully in-person this summer.
“Families are more stressed and affected by mental illness than ever before. These services can provide relief and support in safe, confidential settings, and skills to really improve life for families affected by mental illness,” said Taylor Lovric, caregiver coordinator at Memorial.
The “Circle of Care for Mental Health Caregivers” initiative is supported with funding from the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation. For more information, visit www.namibuffalony.org, email [email protected] or contact Taylor Lovric (716-343-3061/[email protected]).