Genesee County Mental Health
Frequently Asked Questions
What is therapy? What should I expect?
Psychotherapy (or “therapy”) is a general term for a way of treating mental and behavioral disorders by talking about your condition and related issues with a mental health professional. Through therapy sessions, you may:
- Learn about the causes of your condition so that you can better understand it.
- Learn how to identify and change behaviors or thoughts that negatively affect your life.
- Explore relationships and experiences.
- Find better ways to cope and solve problems.
- Learn to set realistic goals for your life.
Therapy can help with symptoms caused by mental illness, such as hopelessness and anger, so that you can regain a sense of happiness, enjoyment and control in your life.
How long will therapy last?
Therapy can be short term, with just a couple of sessions, or it can involve many sessions over several months. Sometimes therapy is combined with other types of treatment such as medication. This will depend on a number of reasons to be discussed with your therapist. Our goal is to build up your coping skills to the point you can be as independent as possible from mental health treatment. The goal of treatment is not to resolve all your issues or problems, but give you the ability to handle those issues or problems on your own.
What is group therapy and what groups are offered?
Our clinic regularly offers Anger Management groups and other groups based on need and resources. Group therapy is also a basic part of our Continuing Day Treatment program, which offers a variety of educational, skill building and discussion-oriented groups to program members.
Can I come to this clinic for medications only?
Research shows that medications are most effective when combined with therapy. Individuals looking for medications only are referred to private prescribers.
Are my therapy records private/confidential? What are the limits to this confidentiality?
A number of federal and state laws make sure that your treatment information is protected in a way that does not interfere with your health care and can only be used for very specific reasons, including treatment coordination, payment purposes, and health care quality improvement. Otherwise, information about your treatment, or even whether or not you receive treatment at our agency, cannot be used or shared with anyone without your written permission except in the following cases: protecting your safety or the safety of someone else; mandatory reporting of suspected child abuse/neglect; and treatment team discussions among staff at our agency to coordinate the services you receive.
What circumstances warrant my case to be closed?
We are required to officially “open” and “close” cases for everyone receiving services at our agency. There are a number of reasons your case might be closed. This would include 1) successful completion of your goals, 2) you deciding that you do not want to continue with treatment, 3) no showing or canceling numerous appointments, 4) no longer benefiting from treatment or further improvement not likely to occur, and 5) if it is deemed that your needs can not be successfully addressed by the services we offer, in which case you will be referred for more appropriate treatment.
GENESEE COUNTY MENTAL HEALTH
RIGHTS & RESPONSIBILITIES OF SERVICE RECIPIENTS
Genesee County Mental Health Services are available to residents of the county, adults or children, who are experiencing severe and persistent emotional problems that interfere with normal life and family functioning.
As someone receiving services from Genesee County Mental Health you are entitled to the following rights:
- To have a plan of treatment specifically designed for you with your input.
- A full explanation of the services to be provided.
- Voluntary participation in treatment except for the following:
- a. In the case of court-ordered services;
- If applicable, when a court-appointed conservator or committee provides consent on your behalf;
- When the consent of a parent or guardian is needed for a minor;
- In the case of conduct which poses a risk of physical harm to yourself or others.
- To object to all or any part of your treatment plan without fear of termination from the program. However, if the objection raises treatment concerns or endangers the safety of yourself or others then a special review will be completed.
- Privacy of your health information under NYS Confidentiality Laws and Federal HIPAA laws.
- Opportunity to request access to your clinical records according to proper legal procedures.
- To receive care and treatment in a respectful, dignified manner that is appropriate to your needs and delivered in a safe, humane and skillful manner.
- To be treated in a way that acknowledges and respects your cultural environment.
- To privacy that will allow effective delivery of services.
- To freedom from abuse and mistreatment by employees.
- To bring a person of your choice to appointments with service providers at our agency.
- To not be denied services based on an inability to pay for them.
- Canceling and rescheduling. If you need to cancel or reschedule an appointment, it should be done at least 24 hours in advance by calling the front desk (344-1421). Please note that you do not need to speak to your specific therapist to cancel or reschedule an appointment.
- Attendance. Regular attendance is required even when you’re feeling good.
- Participation in treatment. You are expected to be an active participant in treatment.
- Prescription refills. It is your responsibility to monitor your medications and notify us in a timely manner when a refill is required. Please note that one week’s notice is required for prescription refills.
- Phone therapy policy. Therapy will not be provided over the phone except in the case of an emergency.
- Child care. It is your responsibility to arrange for child care during your appointments. Children cannot be left unattended in our waiting room.
- Payment for services. Payment for services should be provided at the time of your appointment. Payment is based on the number of sessions you attend, not the length of the sessions (e.g. not hourly). You are responsible for providing all documentation to determine ability to pay, such as tax returns.
- Terminating therapy. If you decide that you no longer wish to receive services from our agency, please notify us as soon as possible. You will be given the opportunity to have an exit interview regarding the services you’ve received.
QUESTIONS & COMPLAINTS
If you have a question, complaint or objection concerning services, you may seek assistance using the following procedures:
- If you feel your course of treatment is inappropriate or that you were treated in an unacceptable manner, you should contact the supervisor of the unit you are attending (Adult, Child and Family, Case Management or the Continuing Day Treatment). The unit supervisor will make a full inquiry as to your complaints, and will attempt to resolve the situation so that you can resume appropriate treatment or care.
- If you are not satisfied with the response you receive from the unit supervisor, then you may contact the Clinical Director at 344-1421.
- If you are not satisfied with the response you receive from the Clinical Director, then you may contact the Director of Community Services at 344-1421.
- If you are still unable to resolve the problem, you may contact the New York State Office of Mental Health in Buffalo at 1-716-885-4219 or in Albany at 1-800-597-8481 for assistance.
- You may also contact the NYS Commission of Quality of Care at 1-800-624-4143 or Western NY Legal Services at 716-847-0510.