Mental health resources in Central NY: Where to get help during coronavirus pandemic

Support groups are often a lifeline for people in crisis, but the coronavirus pandemic forced many organizations to limit in-person meetings and shift resources online.

Now, some groups are starting to get back to in-person meetings.

HOPE for Bereaved, located at 4500 Onondaga Blvd. in Syracuse, restarted some of its in-person meetings in July.

The organization, funded mostly through donations and grants, has helped the grieving in Central New York for over 41 years, through one-on-one counseling, support group meetings, and a monthly newsletter. HOPE sponsors a variety of support groups that serve bereaved people in their 20s up to those in their 90s. They also offer one-on one counseling for children from age 6 and up. All services are free of charge.

While HOPE’s Syracuse location opened its doors to in-person groups, the two groups it runs in Oswego have not opened yet. Interested participants in Oswego and Cayuga counties can join meetings by phone.

HOPE is also starting a new program to help those directly affected by the pandemic. It will hold a conference for people who have lost family from Covid-19, or during the pandemic from other causes. Dr. Terry Ryan, clinical therapist, will be the guest speaker. The conference is Aug. 20 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Reservations are required. See below for more information on how to sign up.

HOPE has published two brochures that are available on line: “Understanding Grief During the Pandemic – Helping Yourself – Helping others” and “The Pandemic: Ways Management Helps Grieving Employees.”

You can call HOPE for the Bereaved at (315) 475-HOPE (9675), or email to find a meeting near you. Meetings can also be found on our calendar at

Are you in crisis? Here is a list of other organizations that can help:


Dial 2-1-1

2-1-1 is a hotline supported by the counties it is located in, and the United Way. It functions as a free, confidential service that helps people connect with local resources and is available throughout most of Central New York.

ACR Health

800-475-2430 — Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

888-475-2437 — After hours


ACR began 37 years ago with support services for AIDS/HIV patients. Since then, services have expanded to over 40 different programs, to include care management, family stabilization services, behavioral health services, housing support services, medical transportation, nutrition education and food services.

ACR serves primarily Cayuga, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga, Oswego, and St. Lawrence counties. Some services go beyond those areas.

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)

AA is a fellowship of people who share their experience and strength in their progress toward recovery. It operates throughout North America, providing information and support group services.

To locate an in-person meeting near you, click this link. Open meetings are available to anyone, closed meetings are only for those who believe they have a problem with alcohol.

For a list of virtual (online) meetings, click here.


Based on the model for Alcoholics Anonymous, Al-Anon/Alateen is a fellowship of friends and relatives of alcoholics who give one another support and strength through shared experience.

The homepage of the website reflects current ongoing meetings during coronavirus.

Clear Path for Veterans

1223 Salt Springs Road, Chittenango



Clear Path is not currently holding in-person meetings due to the coronavirus crisis but offers two programs for veterans who may need help.

The first is a program called “Buddy Check,” which offers veterans and family members a friendly voice to talk to. Call or email

For more difficult cases, mental health consultants are available.

Exceptional Family Resources (EFR)

EFR provides information, advocacy and other support services to individuals with disabilities and their families.

One of the resources they provide is a manual to support groups and agencies in the Central New York area that serve those with and without disabilities. To view the manual, click here.

Narcotics Anonymous (NA)

NA is a nonprofit fellowship of those who are recovering from drug abuse, who maintain their sobriety through shared experience and strength.

Click here for meeting information.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline


The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Overeaters Anonymous (OA)

OA is a group of people who support each other in their recovery from compulsive eating and food behaviors.

To find a meeting, click here.


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