Month: <span>November 2020</span>

AMHC Seeks Community Feedback on Aroostook’s Opioid Epidemic

Erik Lamoreau is the Project Coordinator for a Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) Rural Community Opioid Response Planning (RCORP) grant which aims to reduce the morbidity and mortality of opioid use in Aroostook County.

Aroostook Mental Health Services, Inc. (AMHC) was the recent recipient of a Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) Rural Community Opioid Response Planning (RCORP) grant, which aims to reduce the morbidity and mortality of substance use disorder (SUD), including opioid use disorder (OUD) in Aroostook County.

Community feedback is a critical part of the planning effort. “This 18-month planning grant provides the funding needed to conduct a thorough needs assessment, gap analysis, strategic plan, and action plan,” said Erik Lamoreau, Project Coordinator. “Our goal is to obtain feedback from as many individuals as possible from northern, central, and southern Aroostook about what is working well and what is not working as we address the opioid crisis in our communities.”

The agency is receiving support from its consortium members: Northern Maine Medical Center, Cary Medical Center, Northern Light A.R. Gould Hospital, Houlton Regional Hospital, Aroostook County Sheriff’s Office, and Wabanaki Public Health. In addition, stakeholders from the recovery community, the Emergency Management System, municipalities, representatives of at-risk populations, community leaders, and more are being contacted for one-on-one interviews, focus groups, and/or participation in a community survey. “It’s critical that we hear from a diverse group to ensure we develop the best path forward for addressing this epidemic,” explained Lamoreau.

A community survey will be provided electronically and by hard copy. “Our goal is to make it as easy as possible for individuals to respond,” shared Lamoreau. “The survey is posted on AMHC’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/AMHC1964), website (www.amhc.org) and will be widely distributed through community partners. The electronic version is mobile-friendly and we are happy to provide hard copies to individuals or organizations that prefer that method.”

This 10-minute survey will conclude at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, December 20, 2020. All individuals who include their name and a contact number will be entered into a drawing for one of four $50 gift cards. Winners will be contacted on Monday, December 21, 2020. Please note: Prizes will only be awarded to individuals living in Aroostook County.  If you would like to participate, please reach out to Lamoreau at elamoreau@amhc.org.

About HRSA

This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $200,000 with 100% percent funded by

HRSA/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA/HHS, or the U.S. Government.

AMHC Response to COVID-19

Message from Ellen Bemis, CEO

“As the pandemic continues it is normal to experience anxiety. Caring for our physical and mental health is critically important during a time like this. AMHC is here for you. If you are in need of professional mental health assistance please reach out for a confidential telephone, tele-video (Zoom) or in-person appointment by calling our Access Center at 1-800-244-6431.”

AMHC services remain open.

  • AMHC is following the Maine CDC and Governor Mills’ guidelines regarding face masks, physical distancing, hand washing and facility cleaning.
  • We are asking all clients to please wear a face mask when visiting our outpatient offices.
  • If you have never had a video appointment with your provider, the first time may be a bit scary. Here is a great tool from SMI Advisor to help you prepare for your visit! https://smiadviser.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/How-to-Prepare-for-a-Video-Appointment.pdf

As of May 5, 2020:

  • Pursuant to Governor Mills’ Stay Safer at Home order, AMHC will extend its current practices through May.
  • We are asking all clients to please wear a face mask when visiting our outpatient offices.
  • If you have never had a video appointment with your provider, the first time may be a bit scary. Here is a great tool from SMI Advisor to help you prepare for your visit! https://smiadviser.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/How-to-Prepare-for-a-Video-Appointment.pdf

As of April 20, 2020:

These are some of the most difficult times many of us have ever experienced. If you or a loved one is in crisis, Mobile Crisis Services are available 24/7 by calling the Maine Crisis Line at 1-888-568-1112. If you prefer, you can request to speak with a local crisis provider in your area.

As of April 10, 2020:

  • AMHC continues to accept new referrals for therapy, case management and more. Please contact our Access Center at 1-800-244-6431 for more information.
  • For AMHC clients who are meeting with providers by Zoom, all protocols and measures are in place to ensure client safety and confidentiality.
  • As a member of the Alliance for Addiction and Mental Health Services Maine, AMHC thanks the Alliance for providing the following resources for consumers and providers. http://thealliancemaine.org/covid-19-resources-and-updates/
  • The Recovery Coach Academy scheduled for April 21 – April 24 at Roads to Recovery in Caribou will be rescheduled at a later time.
  • Our Substance Use Peer Recovery Centers are supporting the recovery community by offering individual and group meetings via Zoom. For more information please reach out to your local center:

As of April 1, 2020:

  • AMHC continues to accept new referrals for therapy, case management and more. Please contact our Access Center at 1-800-244-6431 for more information.
  • We ask families and individuals seeking crisis intervention to call the Maine Crisis Line at 1-888-568-1112 from where they are rather than going to the Emergency Departments. AMHC Mobile Crisis responders can meet individuals via telehealth and in-person as needed in the location of the individual’s or family’s choosing.

As of March 24, 2020:

  • RTF (Residential Treatment Facility) is open to individuals living in Aroostook County who have been carefully screened for symptoms.
  • Supportive Visitation Services are being scheduled via Telehealth.

As of March 20, 2020:

  • Mobile Crisis Services can be reached by calling the Maine Crisis Line at 1-888-568-1112.
  • Sexual Assault Services can be reached by calling the Maine Sexual Assault Support Hotline at 1-800-871-4471.
  • Referrals to AMHC Residential and Crisis Stabilization Units in Aroostook and Washington counties will require the referral source to screen for COVID-19 symptoms prior to the referral being accepted.
  • MAT Clinics remain open for either face-to-face or telehealth services but clients are screened for symptoms and carefully monitored to ensure social distancing. Please check with your provider prior to your appointment.
  • AMHC Outpatient Services: for one-on-one treatment sessions staff is relying on telehealth and telephone appointments as much as possible. In-person appointments are screened for symptoms before the appointment is confirmed.
  • Group meetings are limited to fewer than 10 people per CDC guidelines.  Some groups are being offered via telehealth resources.  Check with your site prior to attending.
  • All Mental Health/Substance Use Peer Recovery Centers are closed to visitors but remain open for telephone and tele-video appointments as well as through Facebook. If you need support from your local peer center please call them at the following numbers

Being in isolation can be hard on our body, mind, and soul. Lorraine Chamberlain, Program Director of Behavioral Health and Integration offers tips on how to stay positive during this time.

 

As of March 17, 2020:

AMHC is looked to as a community leader during these uncertain times. In addition, the health of our clients and staff is our highest priority. Our teams are meeting daily to ensure that we are following the latest recommendations from the CDC and taking all necessary precautions to protect our clients and staff while we continue to deliver services.

The following links will help all of us to stay informed and plan appropriately:

  • Maine Center for Disease Control (CDC): Current status of disease spread in Maine; links to information for health care providers; links to practical information for the public.
  • Maine 211: Maine CDC and 211 Maine have launched a new option for Mainers to get answers to questions about COVID-19 at any time. This service is available by dialing 211 (or 1-866-811-5695), texting your ZIP code to 898-211, or emailing info@211maine.org.
  • Governor Janet Mills: Up-to-date information about state emergency orders and declarations; links to relevant resources.

We are pleased to share an interview that Lorraine Chamberlain, Program Director of Behavioral Health and Integration, had with WAGM TV8 about the importance of remaining calm during this critical time. By working together and adhering to CDC recommendations, we will help reduce the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19).

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