Buffalo, N.Y. – Mayor Byron W. Brown convened on the steps of City Hall to commemorate Mental Health Awareness Month in the City of Buffalo. He was joined by Buffalo Police Captain Amber Beyer, a certified mental health instructor, who serves as the City’s first CIT Coordinator, as well as mental health professionals, including Dr. Dori Marshall, ECMC’s Medical Director of the Adolescent Psychiatry Unit, an attending psychiatrist, and a professor at UB’s School of Medicine, Dr. Balwant Nagra, an attending psychiatrist at ECMC’s Behavioral Health Center, and a professor at the University at Buffalo School of Medicine, And our other mental health advocates who are here today, including Sean Lindstrom, Health Care for Homeless Veterans, representatives from Crisis Services and Brett Stotz, a Mental Health Counselor with Endeavor Health Services on Broadway, and other advocates from Crisis Services and Spectrum Health & Human Services, to educate the community about mental health, living with a mental health condition and recovering from it.
“It is important to look at your overall health, both physically and mentally, to achieve wellness,” said Mayor Brown. “Finding a reason to laugh, going for a walk with a friend or meditating can go a long way in making you both physically and mentally healthy – it’s all about finding the right balance to benefit both the mind and body.”
At the event, Mayor Brown announced the coming expansion of BPD’s Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) with the development of a specialized police unit that will deal with behavioral and mental health related issues. Announced during his February 2019 State of the City Address, Mayor Brown named Buffalo Police Captain Amber Beyer, a certified mental health instructor, as the City’s first CIT Coordinator. Captain Beyer has since been the point person for CIT training, which provides officers with the tools and information they need to better respond to those experiencing a mental health crisis. To date, 125 police officers have been trained, with more officers ready to go. The new behavioral and mental health unit, another component of BPD’s expanding Community Policing program, is designed to bolster BPD’s response and prevention plan as it relates to mental and behavioral health-related 911 calls, enhance coordination with Buffalo’s health
and safety partners, and develop long-term strategies to assist those (or connect those) with the appropriate mental health resources or services they need.
Wearing a green ribbon, Mayor Brown also announced that on Saturday, May 11, 2019, he directed the top of Buffalo City Hall to be lit in green and asked the Buffalo Landmark Illumination Team (BuffaloLIT) to do the same with their iconic buildings and structures in a show of support for the Green Ribbon campaign. The goal of the campaign is to get people talking openly about common mental health problems.
“As we continue to build a healthy and inclusive city of opportunity, we must re-affirm every day the intrinsic value of every person and the right for each individual to live a full and abundant life,” Mayor Brown concluded.