WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. (WKBW) — BryLin Behavioral Health System announced it is closing its Behavioral Health Center in Williamsville which includes outpatient mental health programs and an outpatient addiction clinic.
According to BryLin, the location will close "once all care recipients have been linked with other community resources." 35 employees will also be impacted and BryLin said it is working to find those employees other jobs within the health system or with other organizations.
BryLin encourages care recipients to attend their appointments as scheduled for the time being.
“We had to make this very difficult decision because we simply cannot keep up, on an outpatient basis, with the funding that other local nonprofit outpatient clinics receive because of our for-profit status.”
BryLin said it will now concentrate its efforts on its inpatient mental health treatment programs at BryLin Hospital on Delaware Avenue in Buffalo.
“We made a difficult decision. We are now going to refocus on what we do best, which is providing quality inpatient behavioral health care to the Western New York Community for 67 years.”
Executive director of Mental Health Advocates of Western New York, Melinda DuBois, said she understands why BryLin needed to close the clinic, but it is concerning.
"We're in a mental health crisis right now and we need more providers, not less,” DuBois said.
DuBois said pre-pandemic, one in five people suffered from a mental health concern, but now 50% of people meet the diagnosis for depression or anxiety.
Kristy D'Angelo with Gateway Longview has been in the mental health field for twenty-five years and said she has never seen a demand for service like there is right now.
"In the ten years that Gateway’s clinic has been open, we have never had a waitlist and this year we do,” D’Angelo said.
D’Angelo said currently there is a three-to-six-month waitlist for new patients, and they have twelve clinical positions open.
"We are so short, staffed right now, along with everybody else, that its significantly hard to meet the need and demand that's out there,” D’Angelo said.
As for the patients at BryLin, Nowak said despite the closure, they will be sure everyone is in good hands.
"There's going to be a ripple effect,” Nowak said. “But we've been working with some of the other area behavioral health providers to make sure there's going to be a warm handoff."
"I think our community can rally around those clients of BryLin and get together to provide adequate services,” DuBois said.
If you or a loved one is struggling with mental health, help through Crisis Services is a phone call away:
Crisis Services Erie County: 716-834-3131
Crisis Services Niagara County: 716-285-3515