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Mental Health Initiative
Community Conversations | Facebook Live Events

WBFO's Mental Health Initiative Facebook Live events are an engaging way to connect with the community through social media. Each event is focused on a singular topic and brings different experiences and perspectives together into one conversation.

Our conversations have focuses on the changes in mental health treatment over the years, the New York State mandate for teaching mental health, how inside Crisis Services hotlines respond to citizens in need, personal experiences of living with mental illness, and how mental illness is portrayed in pop culture. Watch them online now (below).

As COVID-19 leaves us in in a dual crisis of physical and mental health, in April we will host a series of Facebook live discussions on your mental health related to the coronavirus pandemic.



As part of our mental health initiative, WBFO hosted a series of Facebook Live discussions on your mental health related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Each Thursday in April and May on WBFO’s Facebook page we presented information to help you understand how this pandemic can affect your mental health. We talked about coping, quarantine, isolation and more.


Your Mental Health during COVID-19 | Addiction & Suicide

WBFO welcomed credentialed alcohol and substance abuse counselor Karl Shallowhorn to talk about addiction and risk of suicide amidst a global pandemic. He spoke about integrated treatment, the biology of addiction, and how mental health first aid can help you assess someone's risk of suicide.


Your Mental Health during COVID-19 | Frontline & Essenti

Dave Debo, WBFO’s News Director, talks with psychiatrist Dr. Sourav Sengupta from UBMD Psychiatry and Oishei Children’s Hospital about the mental health of those facing COVID-19 on the front lines - first responders, healthcare workers and those in essential businesses.


Your Mental Health during COVID-19 | Older Adults & Isol

Dave Debo, News Director, welcomes Dr. Ursuline Bankhead, a psychologist working in geriatrics and with older adults at the VA WNY Healthcare Center. She answers questions and comments from older adults and their caregivers regarding the range of emotions this population is experiencing during this pandemic.


Your Mental Health during COVID-19 | Children and Adolescent

Dave Debo, News Director, welcomed Dr. Aimee DiPasqua, a child psychiatrist from Spectrum Health and Human Services. She answered questions and comments from parents and other caregivers regarding the range of emotions children are experiencing during this pandemic.


Your Mental Health during COVID-19 | PTSD

Host Dave Debo, WBFO’s News Director, talked with local Advanced Practice Clinician, Ofer Ziv, from Horizon Health Services about signs and symptoms of PTSD, how you can help those who struggle with it, and how this health crisis is having an impact on all of us.


Your Mental Health during COVID-19 | Stress and Anxiety

Host Dave Debo, WBFO’s News Director, talked with local mental health counselor, Erin M. Moss about stress and anxiety.

Joker: Mental Illness and Pop Culture| Facebook Live Event

Joker: Mental Illness and Pop Culture

In this Facebook Live, we examined how mental illness is portrayed on the big screen through the lens of the blockbuster film “Joker” staring Joaquin Phoenix.

We looked at how accurately the film portrays people suffering from mental illness. For example, does the film incorrectly strengthen the link between mental illness and violence?

“Joker” isn’t the only film with title characters suffering from mental illness. “Finding Dory,” “Inside Out,” “Psycho,” “A Beautiful Mind,” “Silver Linings Playbook” the Netflix series “13 Reasons Why,” and more feature main characters struggling with mental illness.

Watch Now

Join the conversation on WBFO’s Facebook page .


Nick Lippa: Host and WBFO reporter for the Mental Health Initiative

Karl Shallowhorn: Education Program Coordinator at Community Health Center of Buffalo

Alex Garcia: Mental Health program director at Horizon Health Services' Broadway Recovery Center

Let's Talk | Mental Health in the African American Community | Watch Now

WBFO's Mental Health Initiative

Let's Talk: Mental Health in the African American Community

Let's Talk | Mental Health in the African American Community

African Americans are disproportionately more likely to suffer from mental health issues than white Americans. According the US Department of Health and Human Services, in 2015 African Americans were 20 percent more likely to report serious psychological distress than white Americans, and African Americans are almost twice as likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia as white Americans. Despite these statistics, African Americans are less likely to receive behavioral treatment. Why?

In October 2019 the community was invited to Let's Talk, and open discussion of Mental Health in the African American Community at the Frank E. Merriweather, Jr. Library. Host Karl Shallowhorn from the Community Health Center of Buffalo was joined by Keli-Koran Luchey, At-Risk School Counselor at Sweet Home High School, Mental Health therapist Erin M. Moss, Kelly Marie Woffard of Front Seat Life, and Pastor George Nicholas from Lincoln Memorial United Methodist Church.

Local Mental Health Resources:

Crisis Services Hotline: 716-834-3131

NAMI in Buffalo and Erie County: 716-226-6264;

Mental Health Advocates of WNY: 716-886-1242;

Community Health Center of Buffalo: 716-986-9199;

Support for the WBFO Mental Health Initiative is provided by the Patrick P. Lee Foundation.

Watch Online Now | Living With Mental Illness at 22 | Facebook Live Event

Living with Mental Illness at 22
WBFO was Live on Facebook with "Living With Mental Illness at 22"

The statistics are concerning:

  • One in five young people, ages 13-15, experience a severe mental disorder at some point in their life.*
  • Suicide is the third leading cause of death in youth age 10-24 and 90% of those who died by suicide had an underlying mental illness.**

*Any Disorder Among Children. (n.d.) Retrieved January 16, 2015, from
** Isometsa, E.T., (2001). Psychological Autopsy Studies - A Review. European Psychiatry, 16(7), 379-85. Retrieved December 6, 2018, from​

As part of our Mental Health initiative, Buffalo Toronto Public Media hosted a Facebook Live event on the topic of mental illness among young people.

WBFO reporter Nick Lippa was joined in conversation with Kaitlyn Ledzian and Juliana Hill, both 22 years old and both youth peer advocates with Mental Health Advocates of Western New York.

Youth peer advocates have lived experience, meaning they have a mental illness that is stabilized, and are credentialed to assist other young people who are experiencing mental illness.

They talked about the rise of anxiety, depression and suicide among youth.

Watch the recording on this page or join the conversation on WBFO’s Facebook page

Watch Online Now | Crisis Services: Lifeline For Help 24/7 | Facebook Live Event

Crisis Services: A Lifeline for Hope | Watch

WBFO hosted a Facebook Live conversation on location at Crisis Services. We were inside the facility, where 24/7/ hotlines are open to respond to citizens in need. Crisis Services responds to - mental health/illness crisis – suicide – rape victim – domestic violence victim – child abuse – where to find helped for loved ones in crisis – drug over does – drug addiction and mobile outreach.

We answered questions from our Facebook audience and explained how the public relies on Crisis Services to respond to their ‘life-emergency’.


Teaching Mental Health | Watch

As 2018-2019 the school year begins, a new law mandates mental health education for students across New York. We're discussing the new curriculum that aims to teach children about their mental well-being and what it means for teachers and students.

As part of WBFO’s Mental Health Initiative, senior reporter Eileen Buckley led a conversation with New York State Regent Catherine Fisher Collins, who represents Western New York; Michael Cornell, Superintendent of the Hamburg Central School District; and Mark Laurrie, Superintendent of the Niagara Falls School District.


As part of WBFO's Mental Health Initiative, senior reporter Eileen Buckley lead a panel discussion about the dramatic changes in treatment over the years. Panelists discussed "breaking the stigma" to generate a new understanding of mental illness.

The focus of WBFO’s Mental Health Initiative is to normalize the conversation about mental illness by bringing this issue from the shadows into everyday light. This two-year project will provide in-depth coverage of mental health issues and help to build the mental health literacy of our community.

WBFO's Mental Health Initiative is funded by the Patrick P. Lee Foundation