GENESEO, N.Y., April 14, 2023 — Last summer, a small crowd gathered in front of a newly constructed building in Avon for the ribbon cutting of the new Noyes Mental Health and Wellness Center. They had come to help celebrate the addition of a much-needed and often overlooked component of public health: mental health services.
The new mental health center was created in response to a growing call for these services from primary care physicians and patients in the County’s northern communities. These requests only grew louder as the COVID-19 pandemic swept the world, forcing many into isolation and exacerbating some of the root causes of mental illness for millions. As a result of the pandemic, Livingston County received the largest influx of federal dollars in its history through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021. Congress created this federal bill to support projects that provide for economic resiliency and enhance communities negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Noyes Mental Health and Wellness center came to fruition, in part, thanks to a $350,000 mental health project grant provided by Livingston County from its share of these one-time ARPA dollars.
Unsurprisingly, the County has received no shortage of suggestions for spending these funds from interested parties. Even with so many other worthy projects being proposed, the decision to partner with Noyes on providing mental health resources for County residents and beyond was an easy one for local leaders, said Livingston County Administrator Ian M. Coyle.
“We’re in the ‘mental health business,’ so to speak, too in Livingston County, but we’ve never felt that it’s a competition. It’s a partnership,” Coyle told the assembled crowd during the center’s grand opening. “If you look at the thousands of people annually getting appointments and services, some of that is Livingston County, some of that is Noyes Mental Health. It need not matter. What matters is people are getting the care that they need.”
Since opening in 2022, the Noyes Mental Health and Wellness Center has grown from three to seven therapists who provide needed mental health services to the local community. The clinic has also seen a steady increase in patients month over month, with 381 visits recorded in the month of January alone. Patients range from as young as four all the way to 81 years old, seeking treatment for various mental health struggles, such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), grief, ADHD, and psychosis. Staff there provide an array of services, including individual, marital, family, and art therapy; and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, or EMDR, an evidence-based treatment for PTSD. The clinic’s impact has been profound for residents of Avon and the surrounding area who were previously unable to find these services in their community.
Laura Bond, Noyes Associate Director of Mental Health, oversees the Avon location. She’s already witnessed the center make a positive impact on patients’ lives since its opening.
“We have had multiple success stories of people who previously were unable to engage in consistent mental health treatment for a variety of reasons, and who now are connected with a therapist and actively engaged in working on their mental health struggles,” explained Bond. “For one such person with a diagnosis of PTSD and struggles with homelessness, this has meant being able to be referred to care management services and housing support services, being able to access a psychiatric medication prescriber, and being able to see their individual therapist two to three times per month. This connection to consistent treatment and services has resulted in a decrease in their symptoms and stabilization of their overall functioning in the community.”
Adults make up the majority of patients there, however many referrals to the Noyes Mental Health and Wellness Center have originated from schools. Bond said the center has developed collaborative relationships with several local school districts to best meet the needs of their students with mental health concerns.
“The schools are seeing many students who are struggling following several years of pandemic-related impacts on learning and socialization, and we have been able to work with these students to address the mental health issues that are interfering with their academic success,” she explained.
ARPA funding from Livingston County has been important in providing the necessary resources and support to establish the Noyes Mental Health and Wellness Center in Avon and expand its services to better meet the mental health needs of the community. The clinic’s success illustrates the importance of accessible and consistent mental health services and the critical role ARPA funding plays in ensuring these services are available to those in need throughout Livingston County.
“We’re proud to see the impact this facility has already had on those needing its services,” said David LeFeber, Chair of the County’s Board of Supervisors. “ARPA funding has been a vital lifeline for many counties across the country. Our job is to steer these funds to where they’re most needed by our communities and this transformational investment in mental health services and resources is a fantastic success story for the best use of these federal dollars here in Livingston County.”
For more information on ARPA in Livingston County, please read the County’s latest update here: https://www.livingstoncounty.us/civicalerts.aspx?aid=1154.
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About Livingston County:
Founded in 1821, Livingston County, N.Y., is comprised of more than 61,000 residents in 17 towns located across 631 square miles of the Finger Lakes region.