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HIV and AIDS Medicine

Mental Health Services and Support Groups

Albany Medical Center’s AIDS Program and the AIDS Council of Northeastern New York offers mental health services to assist people dealing with the emotional and psychological impact of living with HIV. Living with HIV presents many challenges and our experienced mental health counselors are available to assist patients in coping with the day-to-day stress of their illness. Therapy is available to help with understanding and managing thoughts, coping skills, feelings and behaviors. Some common treatment issues include:

  • HIV diagnosis
  • Disclosing HIV status
  • Handling life transitions
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Anxiety
  • Fear
  • Depression
  • Anger
  • Loss and concern around disease progression
  • Stress
  • Problem-solving
  • Assertiveness
  • Self-esteem
  • Living well with chronic illness

Mental health and physical health are important aspects of maintaining overall well being. Services include:

  • Assessments for therapy
  • Brief supportive counseling
  • Individual, couples and family counseling
  • Support groups and group therapy
  • Psychiatric consultation
  • Medication management.

Patients may be referred for participation in these services by their healthcare provider or case manager. Services are initiated via a referral form from the patient’s healthcare provider and are available regardless of ability to pay.

Funding support for HIV Mental Health Services is provided by Albany Medical Center's AIDS Program through a grant from the New York State Department of Health's AIDS Institute and other support from Albany Medical College.

In addition to HIV mental health counseling and psychiatric services at Albany Medical Center, we provide support and educational groups at both Albany Medical Center’s AIDS Program and the AIDS Council of Northeastern NY. The groups vary from weekly “Healthy Living with HIV” groups that are co-facilitated by peer staff and the mental health counselor to one time topic specific groups facilitated by a licensed mental health counselor.

To find out more about current HIV support groups and HIV Mental Health Services, please contact Sheila Boyle, ACRN, MS, Director of Client Services, by telephone at (518) 262-4025.