The state Office of Mental Health announced recently that more than $4 million in grant money was awarded to community-based programs that offer physical and behavioral health care services to older adults, including those in Erie and Niagara counties.
Erie County Medical Center Corp. received $185,447 to help older adults with serious mental illness. ECMC will collaborate with the University at Buffalo’s School of Medicine, providing peer advocates to help address unmet needs for primary care services in two outpatient mental health clinics, state officials said.
Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center received $500,000 to partner with The Dale Association to help improve physical and mental health outcomes for seniors at one of the hospital’s primary care settings, the Summit Family Care Center in Wheatfield. A part-time senior advocate will help link vulnerable seniors with housing, meal, caregiver and other services and the project aims to teach doctors in training and other health providers about the value of integrated care.
“Across the United States, individuals with serious mental illness are dying 25 years earlier than the general public,” Acting Office of Mental Health Commissioner Dr. Ann Marie Sullivan said in a statement. “By integrating mental health services into primary care, and vice versa, New York is enabling our health care system to more quickly identify mental illnesses and intervene with appropriate treatment.”