Gov. Andrew Cuomo highlighted the need for more accessible mental health services during a speech about the upcoming budget last week.
“We are launching 24-hour urgent care centers. This is an unforeseen, but very real byproduct of COVID– has been the mental health, the stress, the isolation, the addiction problems, the domestic violence problems,” Cuomo said. “And we have to recognize it for what it is and we have to address it.” Kevin Beckman, the facilities Managing Director of Clinic Operations, said there have long been unmet needs for rapid access to quality care.
“We have case managers, we have a nurse practitioner, we have licensed therapists, and the whole purpose was to really, under one umbrella, look at that individual from a comprehensive lens,” Beckman said.
Spectrum Health’s Urgent Care Clinic, located on 1280 Main Street in downtown Buffalo, opened last year right before the pandemic began.
“When we first started this adventure, the original name for the project was called ‘Holistic Health,’” Beckman said. Anybody in need of mental health or addiction services can walk in day of and receive care. Beckman said they examine the social determinants of health to help connect whoever may pass through their doors to other community services.
“Trying to understand the underlying mental health symptoms could be exacerbated by medical,” Martin said. “So being able to offer those services, I believe, is very important to understanding and treating the individual as a whole.” Both Beckman and Martin explain the importance of creating a welcoming presence as someone enters. The belief, as Clinic Program Director Riannon Martin sees it, is many essential medical services are tied to each other.
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