As a nation and locally we are having a lot of dialogue about aspects of dealing with mental health issues. One of the topics we are trying to get better at is de-escalating when someone is having a problem. Another of the topics has to do with a scarcity of mental health services and providers. The Living Room is a unique program located in the Ellis Health Center in Schenectady, with Alyssa Starrantino as the Psychiatry Supervisor. In this episode of Upstate Issues with Diane Donato, Starrantino talks about how The Living Room is designed to put people who are experiencing a mental crisis at ease with counseling in a home/spa-like environment that is available without an appointment Monday-Friday, 10 am to 6 pm. To ensure money isn’t a barrier, services are provided at no cost. Starrantino talks about their success rate with keeping people in crisis away from costly ER visits and their success with helping to direct individuals to additional mental health care resources once they leave. She says they also work with other community partners like the police, advocates for the homeless, and social workers.
Photos provided by Ellis Medicine