Dan Galvin, MSW, CRPA, Director Peer Services and Integration, far left with Spectrum Health Peer Support team

By Annette Pinder

Spectrum Health is thrilled to announce the opening of its new East Buffalo Counseling Center. Located in the Kirsten Vincent Respite and Recovery Center at 111 Maple Street, the Center is open to walk-ins without an appointment from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm Monday through Friday. Services provided by the clinic include crisis counseling, peer support, and case management.

Dan Galvin, MSW, CRPA, Spectrum Health’s Director for Peer Services and Integration, says, “In addition to welcoming walk-in clients to meet with a clinical counselor, clients can meet with a Peer Support Specialist, and also speak with a Buffalo H.O.P.E. (Helping Our People Equitably) Crisis Counselor.

“This is one of the few places in Western New York where an individual can walk in and receive immediate clinical counseling,” said Galvin. “Our mission is to provide quick access to a community that hasn’t always had that level of access. The reality is that long wait lists for mental health or substance use treatment can cause people to wait weeks for a first assessment. Here, they can get immediate help.”

According to Galvin, “A patient’s ability to have rapid access to Spectrum Health Peer Support is often the key to providing them with the crucial immediate help they need, and also enabling them to remain in clinical counseling. He says, “Often, there is only a small window of opportunity. Peers are certified and become part of the treatment team. They bond with clients by sharing their own story and, in the process, create good therapeutic relationships.”

“People with behavioral health and substance abuse problems want to get services right at the time they need these services,” said Bob Cannata, LCSW, Senior Vice President, Business Development and Community Crisis Services. Cannata oversees Spectrum Health’s Crisis and Emergency response programs in Erie, Genesee, Orleans, and Wyoming counties, and the Buffalo H.O.P.E. program.

“Our goal is to provide a welcoming, safe place where people can come where there are no barriers to receiving immediate support,” said Cannata. “Individuals needing help can just walk into our East Buffalo Counseling Center, and we will connect them with what they need.”

Galvin is also glad that the clinic has streamlined the in-take process. “We can complete a brief in-take assessment which can be a step toward connecting patients with longer-term services at other Spectrum Health locations,” he says.

The ability to offer these innovative services to individuals in a crisis was initially funded through a grant awarded to Spectrum Health by the Western New York Blue Fund of Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield. For further information about services available at Spectrum Health’s East Buffalo Counseling Center, call 716-828-1719 or email EastBufCounseling@shswny.org.