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Strong Ties Moves to New Location; Expands Services

Thursday, March 24, 2005

We want to help our clients and their families recover from severe mental illness in a way that allows them to achieve personal goals, and to participate fully in their communities.

The Rochester area’s largest provider of mental health services for adults with severe mental illness is moving to a new location. Strong Ties Community Support Program, run by the University of Rochester Medical Center’s Department of Psychiatry, will relocate to 2613 W. Henrietta Road in Brighton on Monday, March 28. The new facility is 25% larger, allowing for expanded programming and services, including a new computer lab and kitchen training facility. 

Strong Ties, part of Strong Behavioral Health, is nationally recognized as a leader in the care, teaching and research of severe mental illness.  More than 85 mental health professionals, including psychiatrists, psychologists, rehabilitation therapists, social workers, advanced practice nurses, nurse practitioners and case managers, provide outpatient care to about 1,200 adults affected by severe mental illness, such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.  Strong Ties had outgrown the space at its previous location, at the corner of Elmwood and S. Clinton.

The new facility is especially important as the group begins to adopt a rehabilitation and recovery treatment approach, using the additional space to accommodate specialized training facilities, expanded areas for group therapy, and alternative services provided by peers. 

“We believe that hope and restoration of a meaningful life are possible in spite of severe mental illness. Our goal is to go beyond treating symptoms only,” said Joy Koziol, Psy.D., executive director of Strong Ties. “We want to help our clients and their families recover from severe mental illness in a way that allows them to achieve personal goals, and to participate fully in their communities.  This recovery process varies from person to person, and can range from being able to live independently in an apartment to holding down a job.  Whatever the goal, the constant is that we work with clients to achieve what it is that they want to do.” 

The biggest boost in services will be to the STRONG Peer Connections program, which pairs a Peer Specialist with other Strong Ties clients. A Peer Specialist is a Strong Ties client who has received special training in order to use his or her experience with the mental health system to help others to recover. Research has shown that interaction with a peer can be especially helpful in promoting independence of clients affected by severe mental illness, and can significantly reduce relapses.

“Peers are so critical in the recovery process, because no one knows what a client is experiencing better than someone who has been through the same thing,” Koziol explained.

A major focus of the expanded STRONG Peer Connections program will be to connect clients with resources and activities in their communities, and to form relationships outside the mental health system. Eight paid peer specialists and four volunteers currently staff the STRONG Peer Connections program, and they will be able to offer alternative services to clients at the new facility.  For example, clients can obtain job skills at the facility’s new computer lab, while a new kitchen facility will help clients learn the ins and outs of cooking meals, a necessary step to being able to live independently.

Contiguous Space

Perhaps one of the greatest improvements to the new Strong Ties facility comes with a more organized layout of space. Due to the rapid growth of the Strong Ties program, space was added as it became available in the old building. This led to instances where services for the same program were operated out of different office suites. With the new location, all programs will be grouped together in one area, with the Strong Ties pharmacy centrally located for convenient access.  The Strong Ties Medicine in Psychiatry Services (MIPS) will occupy an adjoining suite.  Other amenities at the new facility include ample parking and a bus stop directly in front of the building.

In addition to the STRONG Peer Connections program, Strong Ties will continue offering its three other core programs:  The Continuing Day Treatment program, which provides intensive services up to five days a week; the Outpatient Clinic Program; and its Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) Program, the area’s only OMH-licensed program which provides mobile outreach and treatment to clients who need extra support and assistance to live in the community.

For more information on the Strong Ties program, please call 279-4900 (effective 3/28/05).

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Media Contact

Germaine Reinhardt

(585) 275-6517

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