Berkana Crisis Respite to Reopen after COVID-related Closure

(October 13, 2020) – After several months of closure to minimize the risk of COVID-19 community spread, AccessCNY is thrilled that Berkana Crisis Respite is re-opening its doors to the community.

Originally opened in 2018, Berkana Crisis Respite serves individuals who are struggling with a mental health or substance abuse issue, but are not in need of emergency services. Individuals may check themselves into Berkana for up to a week. During that time “guests” have 24/7 access to staff who can help them connect to community services, create a safety plan and work on recovery skills such as conflict management and healthy coping techniques.

Among mental health programs, Berkana is unique because it is operated by Peer Specialists. This means that the Berkana staff have their own personal experience with mental health struggles and use their personal understanding to help counsel others.

While Berkana was temporarily closed, the staff provided support to those in the community via their mental health warm line and through Unique Peerspectives, AccessCNY’s peer-run drop in center. Berkana staff are eager to return to providing crisis respite services again with adequate safety measures in place.

AccessCNY operates more than a dozen community based programs for individuals with mental health issues, including many homes where individuals are working on their recovery.

Berkana is a pilot project funded by the Central New York Care Collaborative (CNYCC) through a behavioral health grant. The program opened in 2018 under a two year grant and will continue to operate through 2021 with financial backing from the CNYCC. It is hoped that New York State will offer long-term support of crisis respite in the years ahead.

For questions or coverage opportunities, please contact Matt Seubert, Associate Executive Director of Development at: (315) 657-0133.

About AccessCNY: AccessCNY serves over 3,300 people with developmental disabilities, physical disabilities, mental health diagnoses and/or acquired brain injuries each year. The agency offers services that empower individuals to create and achieve their own success, while creating a community where all people belong. In 2015 AccessCNY was created from the merger of two agencies that served individuals with disabilities: Enable and Transitional Living Services. AccessCNY expanded again in 2018 with the merger of Spaulding Support Services. Onondaga CASA, a program that serves abused and neglected children in foster care became part of AccessCNY in 2019. For more information about AccessCNY, call (315) 455-7591 or visit: www.accesscny.org.