JASA provides senior mental health services

Staff at JASA’s Geriatric Mental Health Outpatient Clinic at the Fordham Plaza. (Standing, l to r): Michelle Mangieri, Sunil Maya, Stephanie Goday and Aisha Parillon. (Seated): Daniella Palmisano and Marjorie Kurtz.
Photo by Walter Pofeldt

Bronxites over 60 don’t have to go far for mental health services.

The Jewish Association Serving the Aging is trying to raise awareness of its Geriatric Mental Health Outpatient Clinic in Fordham.

The licensed mental health clinic was founded by JASA in the late 1980s to provide seniors with access to specialized mental health care that addresses effects of aging.

They offer a range of services including therapy for individual and families, psychiatric evaluations and medical therapy, and a support group. Services are also available for home-bound seniors.

Some of the clinic’s patients are people who have struggled with mental health issues their whole lives, said Danielle Palmisano, director of JASA’s Community Guardian/Adult Protective Services.

Others are experiencing a late onset of anxiety or depression as they encounter the loss of friends and family, medical issues, or other changes in their situation.

“They’re adjusting to a new time in life,” said Palmisano.

But JASA is trying to spread the message that depression and aging don’t have to go hand in hand.

“Just because you’re older, it doesn’t mean you have to be sad,” said Palmisano

The clinic offers a safe place for seniors to express their concerns, she said, and Palmisano encourages people to reach out and seek help managing the treatable condition.

“You don’t have to suffer in silence,” she said.

JASA also conducts outreach and educational sessions throughout the community to try and normalize mental health treatment and reduce stigma around the issue.

“Stigma prevents people from seeking help for things that are treatable,” said Palmisano. “If it was a physical condition, they wouldn’t ignore it.”

Younger seniors are more likely to reach out for help, said Palmisano, but there is still quite a ways to go in educating the public.

And as those baby boomers age, the number of seniors seeking mental health is likely to continue to rise.

“It’s something we see the need for increasing over time,” said Palmisano.

To learn more about how JASA’s mental health services can help, call (212) 273-5272.

Reach Reporter Jaime Williams at 718-260-4591. E-mail her at jwill‌iams@‌cnglo‌cal.com.

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