Magellan became involved with Harmonia Collaborative Care, formerly known as Community Concern of WNY, in 2017 when we were engaged as a consultant to provide an assessment. We worked to build a Capacity Plan and Value Proposition to strengthen the organization’s infrastructure and position it to compete in the marketplace. This was the second Cohort in which we provided these specific Organizational Development services. Our work was funded by GetSET (Get Success in Extraordinary Times) an initiative of the Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation, John R. Oishei Foundation, Health Foundation of Western and Central New York, and the Ralph C. Wilson Foundation.

Following our GetSET involvement, we were engaged to provide Operations Management support in four areas – Finance, Administration, Marketing & Communications and Development.  Our role is to support the implementation of the Capacity and Strategic Plans, strengthen and grow the organization’s service lines into southern Erie, Chautauqua, and Cattaraugus counties. Recently, during the COVID19 crisis, our role grew to support teletherapy, financial applications and considerations, and addressing the growing mental health issues arising from months of community isolation.  We lead the engagement of local restaurants, Southtowns Chamber of Commerce, foundations, media, and Native-American entrepreneurs and foundations.

Harmonia Collaborative Care has been serving the Western New York community since 1971. In these almost 50 years of operations, Harmonia has worked to provide behavioral health and senior care services to those in need of support. Harmonia’s counseling and behavioral health services seek to provide holistic, empathetic treatment for those 13 and up with mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and more. These treatments range from individual, group, and family therapy to medication treatment, holistic living, and case management. Through their variety of providers, patients can find a therapist who matches their needs and helps them become healthier. Additionally, Harmonia provides services to seniors in the community through their Senior Services and CarePanion Program. Harmonia’s multifaceted programs aim to assist seniors with lifestyle changes and are committed to helping them remain independent in their own home. From mental health services, dedicated case managers, and the CarePanion program, which assists seniors with tasks such as cleaning and grocery shopping, Harmonia works to enhance the lives of seniors. In addition to dedicated behavioral health and senior programs, Harmonia has a Health Home Care Coordination program to help patients with chronic conditions stay healthy and out of the hospital. Through these programs and the intersection of them, Harmonia creates a holistic approach to health that keeps people healthy and independent.

Mental Health Services

Harmonia’s behavioral health services are vital, as nearly 1 in 5 American adults will have a diagnosable mental health condition in any given year such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, bipolar disorder, and more. This equates to approximately 44 million adults with mental illness in the United States. These medical conditions, which are caused by a variety of reasons such as adverse life experience, biological factors, isolation, and more, are highly pervasive and have a large impact both economically and medically.

From an economic perspective, the impact of untreated mental illness is severe and costs the United States $192.3 billion in lost earnings per year. Additionally, behavioral health disorders make up a large number of hospitalizations, with mood disorders being the third most common cause of hospitalization in the United States. From a more medical perspective, those living with serious mental illness die on average 25 years earlier than others, largely in part due to treatable medical conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. Although mental illness is pervasive, when matched with the right services, many mental illnesses are very treatable. For example, more than 80% of people with depression can be successfully treated with either medication, therapy, or a combination or both. Through organizations such as Harmonia, people can get the mental health services they need and that are proven to work.

Senior and CarePanion Services

In addition to mental health, senior services are critical for numerous reasons. When seniors in Western New York and Central New York were surveyed about their needs, the need to stay independent was clear. Seniors expressed concern about accessible transportation, the ability to continue living at home, opportunities to be mentally and physically active, help with social isolation, connection to others, accessible healthcare, and help with chores and tasks. When these are met, seniors are more likely to stay in their home, and have improved mental and physical health outcomes. A further issue among seniors is mental health, where mental illness is found in about 20% of those 55 years or older. Life events associated with aging such as losing loved ones, isolation, and poorer health can trigger these mental health challenges. When left untreated, mental illness can exacerbate poor health conditions and are associated with higher health costs.

Furthermore, seniors can struggle with poverty and the cost of assisted living. Currently, more than half of NY senior households lack the income necessary to be economically secure and insulate them from poverty as they age. Many seniors rely solely on Social Security as their main source of income. For the 5% of seniors who are living in nursing homes at any given time, costs are extremely high for both private payers and public spending, totaling $219.9 billion in 2012. These costs are only expected to increase over time. Through organizations such as Harmonia that provide senior services, concerns regarding mental health, independence, and poverty among the elderly can be addressed.

To learn more, check out Harmonia Collaborative Care on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and their website to see this collaboration in action. Please consider supporting mental health, senior services and health navigation by making a donation to Harmonia here