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Mental Health Services

Hope in the treatment of mental illness

Our message to those affected by mental illness is simple - there is hope. People can and do recover from mental illnesses and go on to lead happy, productive and rewarding lives. There is effective help available, right here, at Ellis Medicine.

Ellis has been helping adults overcome mental illness for more than40 years, and we offer specialized services for adolescents. We have a staff of adult, child and adolescent psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, nurses and educators, all licensed and certified in their respective fields. We work closely with the Schenectady County Office of Community Services to provide emergency services to our community in times of critical need, and also to create new programs as various needs arise.

If you, a loved one, or someone in your care needs help, Ellis Medicine is the place to turn.

Talk to your doctor or learn more about our services with the links below.

Contact Us

For more information about Mental Health Services at Ellis Medicine, please call:

Crisis/Inpatient Services - 518-243-4000
Outpatient Mental Health Services - 518-243-3300


Inpatient Care

Safe, compassionate inpatient mental health care

Ellis Medicine’s highly trained therapeutic team of psychiatrists, nurses, social workers, recreation therapists and therapy aides provide safe, compassionate inpatient care for patients suffering from mental illnesses.

Immediate problems of living safely in the community are addressed such as: severe depression and anxiety, severe episodes of bi-polar disorder (manic depression), thought disorders such as schizophrenia, and the grave risk of suicide. Co-occurring alcohol and chemical dependency issues are also addressed.

Therapy includes individual and group treatment using psychotherapy, arts therapies and social/psychological education. Peer Support Counselors are available to provide each patient with guidance and advocacy from the perspective of a person successfully living and coping well with mental illness. This is a first-of-its-kind, nationally recognized program.

Care is well coordinated with family and social support networks so that discharge to independence is achieved rapidly, effectively and in conjunction with follow-up outpatient care, when needed. Patients are assisted with links to community services, financial, housing, outpatient mental health, transportation and health care resources (Medicaid, SSI, Disability, etc.).


Crisis Intervention

Responding to client needs

Crisis Intervention Services provide crisis response for clients in the community. Services are available through the Crisis Information and Referral Hotline at 518.243.4000, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Crisis Intervention Services are available in the Emergency Room – for in-person mental health assessments, telephone counseling and referral, and to aid in psychiatric emergencies.

Emergency Department Mental Health Crisis Unit

Ellis Hospital’s Mental Health Crisis Unit is staffed with registered nurses, mental health technicians, psychiatric crisis workers, psychiatrists and security officers, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to care for mental health patients in crisis. Patients seeking mental health assistance receive a medical screening in the Emergency Department before entering the new unit.

"This unit provides us with a larger, more appropriate environment for treatment, while also improving the overall flow of patients through the hospital’s emergency department," Division Director of Mental Health Services Mary Shannon explains. "It helps us to better serve the growing number of mental health patients in our community in need of care."

Call the Crisis Information and Referral Hotline, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, at 518.243.4000.


Adolescent Treatment Center

Short-term intensive care for teens in crisis

Ellis Medicine's Adolescent Treatment Center serves children from a wide geographic area that extends from Poughkeepsie to Canada, and from the Vermont border to the Syracuse area.

The focus of the Adolescent Treatment Center is to provide short-term intensive treatment for teens in crisis, including severe episodes of Depression and Anxiety, Bi-polar Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), eating disorders, severe behavioral disorders and other issues.

Patients are safely cared for by a highly trained therapeutic team of psychiatrists, nurses, social workers, certified teachers, recreation therapists and therapy aides. This multi-disciplinary team works closely with the child's community – his or her family, private therapists, schools, community-based agencies, residential treatment facilities, and others involved in meeting the long-term needs of the child. An ongoing New York State Certified School Program is conducted on-site.

Outpatient Child and Adolescent Treatment

This outpatient mental health program serves patients ages 4-18 with the goal of providing patients and their families with comprehensive, effective mental health services in a nurturing, safe and supportive environment. Among the services provided:

  • Initial psychiatric assessments with diagnosis
  • Medication management
  • Psychotherapy/Counseling services
  • Crisis services (for existing patients)
  • Consultation/collateral services for schools and other professional agencies
  • Wellness Planning
  • Community education

For more information on outpatient child and adolescent programs, please call 518. 382.2290.


Comfort Room

Comfort RoomA Refuge for Young Patients

Ellis Medicine’s inpatient Adolescent Treatment Center now features a first-of-its-kind therapy in the Capital Region - a Comfort Room for young patients struggling with mental illness.

The Comfort Room is a refuge for patients with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and other mental illnesses. The room, located in the inpatient Adolescent Treatment Center at Ellis Hospital, features a series of unique sensory experiences that calm patients and enable them to better communicate and interact with others. Used for individual patients or for groups, the room also supports staff in preventing or diffusing a patient crisis. The room reflects an innovative concept respected for its clinical effectiveness and endorsed by the State Office of Mental Health - and it’s a first for the Capital Region.

Assisted by staff, patients choose from a blend of sights, sounds, textures, aromas and motion - whatever helps them relax and feel secure. Among the features of the darkened room:

  • Galaxy ceiling illuminated with stars
  • Water panel - a continuous waterfall that changes color
  • Bubble tube - a 4-foot column of bubbles and toy fish
  • Fiber optics spray
  • Massage chair with speakers

A Calming Place

Mikey, a patient in the Adolescent Treatment unit has ADHD so severe that he is unable to slow down and often impulsively grabs at people’s faces and clothing. As a result, he alienates his peers, is in and out of foster homes and feels alone, misunderstood and frustrated by his inability to connect with others. After five minutes in the Comfort Room, he calmed down, relaxed and was able to listen to and talk with the physician who was trying to help. "It was like watching a wave of serenity wash over him," said Heather Sherman, RN nurse manager on the unit. "The Comfort Room was a turning point for Mikey’s treatment."

The Comfort Room was funded entirely by grants and generous donors, among them, Stewart’s, The Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region, The Standish Family Fund and the Ronald McDonald House Charities.

For more information on outpatient child and adolescent programs, please call 518. 382.2290.


Outpatient Mental Health Clinic

Coordinated care for members of our community

The focus of Ellis Medicine’s Outpatient Mental Health Clinic is on the long term goal of living safely and productively in the community. We provide safe, compassionate care for patients with such illnesses as: Depression, Bipolar Disorder (Manic Depression), thought disorders such as Schizophrenia, and long-standing struggles with hopelessness and despair. Co-occurring alcohol and chemical dependency issues are also addressed. Therapy includes individual and group treatment and psycho-education.

Patients are cared for by Ellis Medicine’s highly trained therapeutic team of: psychiatrists,  licensed social workers, psychiatric nurses and licensed mental health counselors. Assessments evaluate possible medication needs to ensure optimal use of advances in medical care. Care is well coordinated with family and social support networks so that independence in the community is maintained. Coordination with other service agencies, housing, medical providers and inpatient care is used effectively, when needed.

Patients are assisted with ongoing links to community services, financial, health care, and transportation resources.


Personalized Recovery Oriented Services

Personalized Recovery Oriented Services for Adults

These services offer hope and assistance to individuals in regaining life roles that have been lost or never achieved due to mental illness.

The program, which operates Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m-5:00 p.m., offers an array of educational and skill acquisition groups geared to help consumers achieve their chosen recovery goals in the areas of work, education, relationships and living environment.

The program also provides individual therapy and medication management as needed.

Social and recreational activities are also offered to program participants.

The program is led by a team of psychiatrists, nurses, social workers, licensed mental health counselors and psychiatric caseworkers.


Peer Advocacy Program

Providing advocacy and vocational opportunities

The Peer Counselor Program is an innovative, nationally recognized program in which trained mental health consumers provide advocacy and support from the perspective of a person who has been able to successfully cope with mental illness.

Peer counselors are available throughout Ellis Mental Health Services, including in the Emergency Room, Inpatient Psychiatric Unit and Outpatient Programs.

The Peer Counselors Program offers mental health consumers extensive training and meaningful employment as peer counselors. The program also serves as a vocational opportunity, and many peer counselors eventually move on to competitive employment in human services and other fields.


Case Management and Family Support

Support for adults and young adults

Using home-based outreach, this service provides ongoing supportive assistance and guidance that maximizes an individual’s ability to maintain independent living in the community.

Patients are intensively assisted with community services:

  • Financial, housing, health care, and transportation resources.
  • Provides oversight and care coordination to help patients make the best of community-based services and reduce the need for hospitalization.
  • Provides assistance with accessing services related to daily living needs and personal management.

Family Support for Adults

A weekly group held at Ellis Hospital that provides support and education to families of those afflicted with mental illness. For more information, call 518.243.3300.


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