Three peer mental health organizations to begin a Crisis Diversion Program

Modified: January 16, 2018 11:09am

Three peer mental health organizations to begin a Crisis Diversion Program


Until now, individuals experiencing a mental health crisis, or “pre-crisis”, often found themselves with no option but to go to a hospital emergency room – in which staff may be well experienced in treating physical ailments, but less in offering the peer perspective of someone who “has been there”.


An alternative to the E.R. that has been successful elsewhere in the nation, the “Living Room” has been established by Erie County’s only three peer mental health agencies: Mental Health PEER Connection (MHPC), Restoration Society, Inc. (RSI), and Housing Options Made Easy, Inc.  Individuals who are at least 18 years old and have a primary mental health condition or substance abuse, and are experiencing a mental health pre-crisis or crisis, will be able to talk to a Medical Health Professional AND talk to Peer Specialists who have also gone through crisis.  Starting today (Friday January 12, 2018), those in need can just walk in to the Living Room from 3:00 PM to 11:00 PM, seven days per week, at 327 Elm Street at Genesee Street in Buffalo, NY 14203. 


The Living Room’s mission is to provide a safe, supportive, non-judgmental environment that empowers those who are struggling with the principles of wellness and recovery, which can then inform constructive self-care decisions.  In the Living Room, where they can come and go as they choose, guests will experience a setting filled with hope, strength, resources and peacefulness, to enable them to make a new start and begin planning the directions they wish to take.


There are NO cookie-cutter solutions.  Specific services, that are designed to meet individuals’ needs, include: Diversion Activities and Therapies, such as Art, Music, or Journaling.  Providing community resources, namely Peer Services; Education and Tools for Continued Wellness; Advocacy and Community Outreach.  Funding has been provided by the New York State Office of Mental Health.


The Living Room can be called directly at (716) 245-4200, extension 425, or more information is available from Leslie Saunders of MHPC at (716) 836-0822, extension 163. 


Mental Health PEER Connection is a member of the Western New York Independent Living, Inc. family of agencies that offer an expanding array of services to aid individuals with disabilities to take control of their own lives.


Restoration Society, Inc. (RSI) is a peer-operated agency that offers recovery-based person-centered services serving adults, 18 years and above, with the recovery vision that all individuals can lead active lives filled with hope and satisfaction and make valuable contributions to our community.


Housing Options Made Easy, Inc. is a not-for-profit supported housing and community support agency developed and operated by, and for, recipients of mental health services, to provide: choice, empowerment, self-sufficiency, community integration, hope, respect, trauma-informed cultural awareness and acceptance, diversity and inclusion.




An alternative to the E.R. , the “Living Room” has been established by E. C. mental health agencies: Mental Health PEER Connection (MHPC), Restoration Society, Inc. (RSI), and HousingOptions Made Equal.