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10th Annual Walk A Mile In Her Shoes® 2015

Walk A Mile

Sunday April 26th

12:00-3:00 pm

at Crisis Services

2969 Main St. at Hertel



Registration now open.

Click here for more information or to register.


Shelly Marabella Crisis Services Program Supervisor for Mobile Transitional Support (MTS) recounts a typical family’s experience of MTS in action.

Shelly Marabella

MTS Through a Mother’s Eyes

I watched as he began to change before my eyes. He was not who I’ve known him to be.  In the past, he was a sweet boy who looked to me for support when he was nervous about his first day at school, or when he had to go to the dentist for the first time. He always had a sensitivity that I could help talk him through or comfort him in a way that helped him navigate. This was different. After 17 years of raising him, he stood before me as a stranger. He was speaking in hurtful and unclear ways that made little sense. He was yelling and threatening to kill himself if I stepped closer. He didn’t trust me. I knew something was terribly wrong but was not sure how to help. I was his mother, his go to, and I had no idea what to do to make this better for him. I called the Crisis Services hotline.

Somebody picked up and spoke with me. I was beside myself with worry and fear for my son’s life. Was he going to hurt himself? Why would he do this? He now locked himself in the bathroom shouting that he had a razor in his hand. The hotline counselor was calm, almost alarmingly so, but was asking questions of me to determine what the next steps would be.  She called 911 and stayed on the line with me. I wasn’t alone. I felt so helpless. Why couldn’t I help him through this? Where did this come from? Did I do something to cause this? I’d do anything for him, why didn’t he know that?

A Crisis Services trained police officer arrived and came to the bathroom door and talked my son into opening the door a crack. He was suspicious, and did have a razor in his hand, but the door opened a sliver. A Crisis Services outreach team arrived minutes later to ask him questions about what was happening. They were able to do it in a calm manner, as if asking him casually for lunch. He was beginning to calm, maybe even trust a little. He agreed to go to the hospital, and was okay with me joining him there.

My son was admitted for a week where he received medications for the voices telling him to hurt himself and not trust me. The voices said I was the devil. My son, my beautiful son who helped his grandmother shop for groceries every weekend, who was an A student, was battling a war in his own mind that I could not relate to. As the medications began to rebalance him, he returned to the child I recognized.

At the time of discharge, the social worker arranged to have him see a counselor in the community and signed him up with “Mobile Transitional Support” (MTS) services through Crisis Services. This was a new world to me. The MTS team, two people, one a mental health professional, and the other a past patient now trained to offer peer support, met us in the hospital and scheduled an appointment with us once we returned home.

The MTS team was unique in that they understood the clinical aspects but also what my son’s perspective was. One spoke using clinical terms and the other spoke as a friend. Together they explained the diagnosis, the medications, the importance of routine and helped to normalize this new “normal” we entered. I no longer felt alone. Additionally, the team was available after hours, weekends and deep into the night. We had the network of an institution in the comfort of our home. They would schedule appointments at times so I could catch up on chores such as laundry or making dinner while they worked with my son on building coping skills and helping him understand about his condition.  I will always be grateful to MTS for the help and support they provided.

Crisis Services receives BBB Accreditation

Crisis Services has met Better Business Bureau’s 20 Standards for Charity Accountability and is now a BBB Accredited Charity. This rigorous test
evaluates charities based on a set of high standards so donors can view information about the charity that can help donors to feel confident they are making sound charitable giving decisions. For detailed information about BBB’s 20 Standards for Charity Accountability along with Crisis Services full Charity Report click here .

New Program added to Mobile Outreach/Trauma Response Program

A new Mobile Transitional Support (MTS) Program joins our existing Mobile Outreach Program and Trauma Response Program as part of Crisis Services Emergency Mental Health Response Services under the leadership of Tracie Bussi, LMSW.

Shelly Marabella, LMHC, has joined Crisis Services as the new Program Supervisor for MTS.

MTS provides mobile clinical intervention and support for individuals discharged from Buffalo Psychiatric Center or Erie County Medical Center, during the time frame when discharged individuals are making the post-discharge transition to linkage and secure engagement in the community-based services and supports identified in their discharge plan.  Upon referral, individuals are assigned to a team, consisting of one Licensed Mental Health Provider and one Peer Specialist, who work with a caseload of 10-15 individuals.  In order to fill a gap in service availability, the teams are available to assist the individual during non-traditional hours (holidays, weekends, and afterhours). The service is identified as a necessary  part of the comprehensive, integrated and proactive pre-discharge plan for community transition.  Individuals identified as benefiting from this service meet the MTS team multiple times prior to discharge and the MTS team is part of the discharge planning process where transition plans will be developed.

The program is in its final stages of implementation and services will begin March 1st.

Crisis Services Announces Leadership Team Promotions and New Hire

We are pleased to announce the promotions and addition of the following personnel to our Leadership Team, effective immediately.

Director Promotions

Tracie Bussi, LMSW, has been promoted to Director of Emergency Mental Health Response Program; Robyn Wiktorski-Reynolds,LMSW, has been promoted to Director of the Advocate Program and Rachel Morrison, LMHC-P, has been promoted to Director of the Crisis Counseling and Outreach to the Homeless Programs. All three had formerly served as Coordinators for their respective programs. Ms. Bussi has been with Crisis Services for 18 years, Ms. Wiktorski-Reynolds for 9 years and Ms. Morrison for 11 years.

Rebecca Stevens, MA, has been promoted to Program Supervisor of the Advocate Program and Kristin Adduci, LMHC has been promoted to Program Supervisor of the Emergency Mental Health Response Services. Both served as Senior Supervising Counselors of their respective programs.

Barbara Gasiewicz was promoted to Chief Financial Officer, having served as Fiscal Manager for the past two years.

In a press release dated January 13, 2015, Jessica C. Pirro, Crisis Services newly appointed CEO remarked “I am honored to have an amazing team of intelligent, hard working, mission driven women to help run the operations of Crisis Services. It is rare to have a collection of talents coupled with longevity of service to an organization.  Their commitment is a true asset and Crisis Services is fortunate to have to them as part of our team to lead our crisis first responders in helping those in our community.”

Heather Stronner, LMSW, was promoted to Program Supervisor of the   Crisis Counseling and Outreach to the Homeless Programs. Heather formerly served as the Clinic Afterhours Counselor for the Crisis Counseling Program.

Crisis Services also welcomes to our Leadership Team Shelly Marabella, LMHC, Program Supervisor of the newly formed Mobile Transitional Support Program that is part of our Emergency Mental Health Response Program.



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