Month: <span>March 2023</span>

AMHC Adult Crisis Stabilization Unit in Washington County Gains Momentum

Photo caption: ACSU staff seated l to r: David Hodgkins, Elizabeth Bartlett; center: Bobbi Jo Shoaf; back l to r: Tiffany Harvey, Tammy Clark, Rick Devoe, Caiden Plaisted, Jeremy Steinhaus (absent: Randy French, Justin Pikulski)

Aroostook Mental Health Services, Inc. (AMHC) is pleased to provide an update regarding the expansion of adult crisis stabilization unit (ACSU) services at 127 Palmer Street in Calais. An ACSU is for individuals experiencing a behavioral health crisis that would benefit from a short-term stay in a safe, residential-type environment; it offers trained crisis staff to offer support, intervention, safety planning, and connection to other services that may be needed.

“The ACSU in Washington County opened in July 2021 and is currently accepting new referrals,” explained Shannon Gove, LSW, AMHC Program Director. “Since opening, the staff has served 50 clients, equating to more than 1,200 bed days. Despite workforce shortages, they continue to serve the most vulnerable in our county and beyond.”

Referrals to the ACSU in Calais can be made 24/7 by calling the unit directly at 207-454-1910, through the AMHC 24/7 Call Center at 1-800-244-6431, or by fax at 207-454-0441. Anyone is welcome to make a referral, including the individual in crisis, a family member, behavioral health and medical providers, law enforcement, etc.

“Prior to the opening of this facility, individuals in Washington County in need of a crisis stabilization unit would be referred to Bangor or Presque Isle, up to 120 miles away,” said Gove. “This resulted in individuals having to wait in emergency departments or in the community while their crisis worsened. A local resource is having a positive impact on both the individuals in need of services as well as their family members.”

The space offers five private rooms and two bathrooms, and the facility is handicap accessible. In addition, clients will have a personal space to visit with family, friends, or other supports. The open floor plan provides a kitchen, dining, and living room area.

The opening of the ACSU was made possible thanks to the grant funds provided through Davis Family Foundation, C.F. Adams Charitable Trust, and the Maine Community Foundation.

AMHC Overnight Warming Centers in Calais and Houlton To Open Friday, March 17

Aroostook Mental Health Services, Inc. (AMHC) has received funding through the Maine State Housing Authority to open temporary overnight warming centers in Calais and Houlton. “AMHC is pleased to receive this funding through the Maine State Housing Authority to support individuals who are experiencing homelessness during the cold winter months,” explained Michelle Ferris, AMHC Chief Operations Officer. “The overnight warming centers will open on Fridays and Saturdays beginning March 17; additional days and hours will be added as staffing increases.”

The warming centers are located at Downeast Recovery Support Center, 311 Main Street, Calais and at Aroostook Recovery Center of Hope, 106 Main Street, Houlton. Staff will offer a safe, nurturing environment with places for individuals to rest and recline, have snacks, a hot drink, and bottled water. Individuals will be provided an opportunity to receive staff support to seek needed services such as clothing, food, and other community and behavioral health supports as needed.

“The centers will be open through April 30, 2023,” said Ferris. “We recognize this service may be an important lifeline to individuals in our community who are having difficulty accessing housing and other services and we look forward to offering our support.” For more information about the warming centers please contact Downeast Recovery Support Center at 207-952-9279 and Aroostook Recovery Center of Hope at 207-254-2213.

There are immediate openings for temporary staff to support the overnight warming centers. There is an overnight shift differential and a completion bonus for staff who stay through April 30, 2023. Shifts are available between 7:00 p.m. – 7:00 a.m. Monday – Sunday; days and hours worked are flexible based on one’s availability. For more information and to apply, please contact Cory Tilley at

St. John Valley Associates Merges with Aroostook Mental Health Services, Inc.

St. John Valley Associates (SJVA) and Aroostook Mental Health Services, Inc. (AMHC) are pleased to announce that the two agencies will merge, which will take effect on July 1, 2023. SJVA will retain the same personnel and level of services in the community; AMHC will provide leadership and administrative services.

“The SJVA Board of Directors are focused on continuing the mission of SJVA as set forth by the founders, and in doing so recognized the business requirements to continue to meet the needs of our current and future clients,” explained Thomas Gerard, SJVA President. “Therefore, we sought a merger with a recognized leader in our geographic area that would provide the professional business and administrative background to allow SJVA not only to survive but to grow and prosper. We as an organization look forward to the future and the enhanced benefits that AMHC will provide to our staff, clients, and the community of the greater St. John Valley area.”

“We are very pleased to have SJVA join AMHC,” shared Ellen Bemis, CEO. “In our early discussions, it was clear that our organizational missions, which focus on community integration, align well. AMHC has been a provider of behavioral health services to SJVA clients for many years, and we’re looking forward to bringing our services together.”

About SJVA

Since 1978 St. John Valley Associates has provided a center-based facility offering services to adults with intellectual disabilities. During the past 45 years, the SJVA organization has successfully lived up to the founders’ desire to continue education beyond high school for adults with intellectual disabilities. For more information, visit

About AMHC

Celebrating nearly 60 years, AMHC is a nonprofit organization supporting up to 5,000 individuals annually. The agency has 26 service sites and 350 employees across Aroostook, Washington, and Hancock counties providing mental health, substance use, crisis, and sexual assault services. For more information, please visit AMHC at

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month

Center for Integrated Neuro Rehab Highlights Brain Injury Services in Aroostook County

Center for Integrated Neuro-Rehab (CINR), a program of Aroostook Mental Health Services, Inc. (AMHC) is pleased to highlight Brain Injury Awareness Month during the month of March.

“We hope this month is a great opportunity for the community to learn more about brain injury services available here in Aroostook County,” shared Pamela Searles, OTR/L,CBIS, Neuro-Rehabilitation Services Manager. “Last year, CINR celebrated its 15th anniversary of supporting individuals with traumatic brain injury.”

Since opening in 2007, CINR has supported hundreds of individuals and their loved ones. Fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF), CINR is currently accepting new clients. Services are available in Caribou and Houlton.

Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are more common than many people think. Brain injuries are most often sustained through falls, as well as strokes, and motor vehicle accidents. In Maine alone, on average every week, there are nearly 200 TBI-related hospital emergency department visits.

CINR works with individuals to assist them with gaining more skills in the areas of physical function, language/cognition, social/emotional wellbeing, and more independence with life skills.  It is important that the community knows there is hope and help in overcoming the challenges associated with traumatic brain injury. For information, eligibility requirements, and to make referrals, CINR staff can be reached at 207-498-3820.

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