Ellis expands mental health services in time of rising demand
Tuesday, June 8, 2021
Community support makes vision for State Street Health Center a reality
Practice aims to improve access to care
SCHENECTADY, N.Y. – Ellis Medicine has cut the ribbon on its $1.5 million child, adolescent and family outpatient mental health clinic at 1023 State Street, doubling its capacity to serve young patients.
The project was fully underwritten by The Foundation for Ellis Medicine, thanks to the generous support of the community and a significant grant from the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation. It adds 4,000 square feet of clinical and office space to Ellis’ State Street Health Center and fulfils the original vision for the building: to have all outpatient mental health—and integrated health services such as primary care—under one roof.
The new child, adolescent and family clinic will begin seeing clients on Monday, June 14. It replaces a 2,600-square-foot facility on McClellan Street.
With the move, the clinic is recruiting four new providers and a support staffer. It also will add new services, including psychological testing, and have the ability attend to the needs of a far greater number of patients aged 4 to 21 and reduce, and hopefully eliminate, the current waiting list. Ellis’ outpatient mental health program serves children and teens from 31 New York counties.
The need for child and adolescent mental health services has only increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. Social isolation and the lack of traditional support systems and social outlets have led to anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues in young people, with many turning to emergency departments for help.
“Ellis has a long and proud history of providing mental health services to the people of our community and beyond,” said Paul Milton, President & CEO of Ellis Medicine. “At a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has shined a light on the growing mental health needs of children and adolescents, this new outpatient center will double our capacity to better serve this vulnerable population in a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere. We are extremely grateful to the community for its generous support of this vital project.”
David Horan, Chair of The Foundation for Ellis Medicine, added: “The Foundation is honored to work with the many community partners, grantors and individuals whose generosity and commitment makes it possible to expand and enhance needed mental health services for our children, youth and families.”
In addition to funding the building renovations, a generous grant from the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation underwrites the first year salaries for the five new hires.
“The Mother Cabrini Health Foundation is dedicated to sponsoring programs and initiatives that address the unmet healthcare needs of communities across New York State,” said Msgr. Greg Mustaciuolo, CEO of Mother Cabrini Health Foundation. “The Ellis Medicine child, adolescent and family outpatient mental health clinic is a prime example of this, and we are proud to give it our whole-hearted support in strengthening access to such vitally needed services.”
The building at 1023 State Street is owned by L&S Realty, which also served as general contractor for the project. Chris Spraragen, President of L&S Reality, said “The Spraragen family is thrilled to partner with Ellis on this invaluable project for our community. Our longstanding commitment to Schenectady includes caring deeply for the health and well-being of the people who live here. We could not be happier that our building serves as Ellis Medicine’s mental health clinic for adults and now its 4,000 square-foot expansion will include services for children and adolescents.”
The State Street Health Center also includes an adult mental health clinic with embedded primary care services, PROS (Personalized Recovery Oriented Services) and “The Living Room,” a walk-in crisis diversion service. Ellis Medicine cut the ribbon on the State Street Health Center on June 14, 2017, four years to the day the child and adolescent practice will see its first patients. The renovated building has also been an important factor in the renewal of the upper State Street neighborhood. Among the project’s most enthusiastic advocates was the Schenectady-based Wright Family Foundation.
“The Wright Family Foundation was proud to support the opening of the Ellis Medicine State Street Health Center as the cornerstone of a neighborhood revitalization project,” said Heather Ward, Chair of the Wright Family Foundation. “We are very impressed with the results and seeing Ellis Medicine’s full vision realized with the addition of the child and adolescent outpatient mental health services is beyond gratifying. We are so grateful to be a part of this important project in our community.”
“This is a tremendous project for Ellis but most importantly for the youth of our region,” said Mark Little, Chairman of the Ellis Medicine’s Board of Trustees, who operates the Little Family Foundation with his wife, Terri. “I compliment the leadership, the mental health professionals at Ellis and The Foundation for Ellis Medicine for their vision and efforts to make this possible. Our family is honored to support this beautiful new facility that will help so many children, youth and families.
The child and adolescent practice has its own entrance in the rear of the building and some unique features, including an interactive lobby with a light-up bubble machine and sensory mural made exclusively for Ellis; bathrooms with state-of-the art safety features; and a dedicated play therapy room underwritten by MVP Health Care.
“Since the start of the pandemic, we have seen an exponential demand for mental health services, especially for children and teens,” said Christopher Del Vecchio, MVP Health Care’s President and CEO. “The new child and adolescent mental health center is a historic investment in the Capital Region that will combat the emerging mental health crisis while breaking down barriers to care for our youngest generation. We are so proud to support the clinic and its play therapy room that will undoubtedly provide unique support services and interventions that are so desperately needed.”
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