Following the December Blizzard, Highmark BCBSWNY engaged Mental Health Advocates to identify ways to support the mental health needs of the community.
Together, they brought seven organizations together to collaboratively develop a series of community initiatives that promote healing and mental health resources. Other partners include Spectrum Health Buffalo H.O.P.E program, Buffalo Urban League Buffalo H.O.P.E program, Hope Rises, Horizon Health Services, BestSelf Behavioral Health and the New York State Office of Mental Health.
“With all that our community has endured in the last 10 months, we’ve seen how critical mental health services are through our support and interaction with the region’s mental health providers,” said Michael Ball, vice president, community affairs, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York. “We knew that it would take a lot of collaboration to have a real impact. We’re grateful for our partners who have gone above and beyond to bring this important initiative to life.”
The series begins with A Community Day of Hope and Healing on Saturday, March 25 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Delavan Grider Community Center. All are welcome at the free, family-friendly event and can expect to participate in activities that promote mental wellness, plus they will learn about an array of resources to help set them up for future success. Refreshments, giveaways and a mural painting will highlight the event.
It continues Wednesday, March 29 with a public discussion about community trauma, featuring an impressive roster of community leaders. Panelists include:
Melissa Archer, PMHNP-BC, BSN, Chief Operating Officer, Buffalo Urban League
Amanda P. Budwine, LCSW-R, Director of Behavioral Health and Care Management, Jericho Road Community Health Center
Cameron Burns, Community Education and Outreach Coordinator, Crisis Services
Robert L. Cannata, MSW LCSW, Sr. Vice President of Business Development and Community Crisis Services, Spectrum Health & Human Services
Kelly D. Dumas, LCSW, Chief Operating Officer, BestSelf Behavioral Health, Inc
Vinnette Folkes, Coordinator of Community Based Services, Endeavor Health
Patrick Greene LMHC, Program Director, Horizon Health Services
Dr. Jennifer Lewis Johnson, Program Coordinator, Reimagine: I am The Change!, WNY Field Office of Mental Health
Sylvia Lane, MS, Director of Preventative Services, Say Yes to Education Buffalo
Mark O'Brien, Commissioner of Mental Health, Erie County Dept of Mental Health
The event is open to the public and will take place at Highmark BCBSWNY’s downtown headquarters from 3 to 5 p.m. Registration is required and can be accessed at mhawny.org.
Lastly, the coalition of partners created a mental health resource guide for the community, which is also available on Mental Health Advocates website at mhawny.org.
As the only health plan based in the City of Buffalo, these initiatives are part of HMBCBSWNY’s commitment to supporting the City’s emerging needs. $500,000 of the health plan’s $7 million annual community investment directly supported the blizzard relief efforts, as well as the May 14 mass shooting.
About Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York is a trade name of Highmark Western and Northeastern New York Inc., an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. Since 1936, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York has helped millions of people lead healthier lives. Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield offers a full range of insured, self-insured, and government programs and services covering businesses, families, and individuals, as well as dental and vision plans and stop-loss coverage. Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield employs more than 1,500 people and serves as a key economic driver in the region. As a community-based, not-for-profit health plan, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield contributes significantly to organizations that strengthen and enrich the health of the community.
For up-to-date news, facts, and information about the company, leadership, and industry, please visit bcbswny.com or follow us on Twitter.
All references to “Highmark” in this document are references to the Highmark company that is providing the member’s health benefits or health benefit administration and/or to one or more of its affiliated Blue companies.
This website is operated by Highmark, Inc. and is not the Health Insurance Marketplace website. It also does not display all Qualified Health Plans available through the Health Insurance Marketplace website. To see all available Qualified Health Plan options, go to the Health Insurance Marketplace website at HealthCare.gov.
Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield or Highmark Blue Shield are Medicare Advantage HMO, PPO, and/or Part D plans with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in these plans depends on contract renewal.
®Blue Cross, Blue Shield and the Cross and Shield symbols are registered service marks of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans. Benefits and/or benefit administration may be provided by or through the following entities, which are independent licensees of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association: Western and Northeastern PA: Highmark Inc. d/b/a Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, Highmark Choice Company, Highmark Health Insurance Company, Highmark Coverage Advantage Inc., Highmark Benefits Group Inc., First Priority Health, First Priority Life or Highmark Senior Health Company. Central and Southeastern PA: Highmark Inc. d/b/a Highmark Blue Shield, Highmark Benefits Group Inc., Highmark Health Insurance Company, Highmark Choice Company or Highmark Senior Health Company.
PA: Your plan may not cover all your health care expenses. Read your plan materials carefully to determine which health care services are covered. For more information, call the number on the back of your member ID card or, if not a member, call 866-459-4418.
Delaware: Highmark BCBSD Inc. d/b/a Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield.
West Virginia: Highmark West Virginia Inc. d/b/a Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, Highmark Health Insurance Company or Highmark Senior Solutions Company. Visit our website to view the Access Plan required by the Health Benefit Plan Network Access and Adequacy Act. You may also request a copy by contacting us at the number on the back of your ID card.
Western NY: Highmark Western and Northeastern New York Inc. d/b/a Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield.
Northeastern NY: Highmark Western and Northeastern New York Inc. d/b/a Highmark Blue Shield.
Enter your ZIP code so we can show you personalized information.