Author: <span>AMHC</span>

MECASA Recognizes Wendy Page with Advancing the Mission Award

Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault (MECASA) announced the recipients of the 2022 MECASA Awards – given annually to people and organizations whose work has had a significant statewide impact on the services and policies that support survivors of sexual violence in Maine.

“We’re very pleased that Wendy Page, AMHC Sexual Assault Services Coordinator, was among several recipients statewide who received the Advancing the Mission Award,” shared Julia Miller, AMHC Program Director for Prevention and Sexual Assault Services. The award is given to one or more individuals employed by a MECASA member center or member centers ‘who demonstrate an extraordinary and unwavering commitment to advancing the statewide mission of MECASA.’

“Wendy participated with other MECASA members in developing and implementing a statewide, standardized advocate training and a facilitator’s guide and updated advocate manual,” said Miller. “The materials took more than two years to finalize. We’re grateful to Wendy and the entire team for their efforts.”

The annual MECASA Awards are presented each April in conjunction with Sexual Assault Awareness Month, a time when sexual assault providers around Maine raise awareness about the impacts of sexual violence on our communities and the services available to survivors. One in five people in Maine will experience sexual violence at some point in their lives.

AMHC Sexual Assault Services Advocates support nearly 400 victims per year in Aroostook, Washington, and Hancock counties. They can be reached by calling the 24-hour Sexual Assault Helpline at 1-800-871-7741. Text and chat are also available Monday – Friday from 8:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m. The service is free and confidential. For more information, visit AMHC Sexual Assault Services at https://www.amhcsas.org/.

AMHC Highlights Mental Health Month in May

AMHC Highlights Mental Health Month in May.

May is Mental Health Month, and Aroostook Mental Health Services, Inc. (AMHC) is pleased to join Mental Health America in highlighting its “Back to Basics” campaign.

“The past few years have highlighted how important mental health is to overall well-being,” said Ellen Bemis, CEO. “Part of AMHC’s mission is to reduce the stigma associated with mental health. Our agency encourages all community members to know the resources available to support you or a family member in a time of need.”

There is no single cause for a mental health condition; many possible risk factors can influence how likely a person is to experience a mental health condition or how severe the symptoms may be. Mental Health America has a screening tool at https://screening.mhanational.org/screening-tools/ which may assist an individual to better understand what one is experiencing; after that, it is important to talk to a trusted friend, family member, teacher, etc. about the results, and as appropriate seek professional help.

AMHC encourages anyone who is struggling to reach out to the resources that are available.

  • Maine Crisis Line: 1-888-568-1112. Available 24/7 to call, text, or chat
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Available 24/7
  • StrenthenME: 207-227-8198. Available 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. seven days a week to anyone in Maine experiencing stress reactions to the pandemic
  • Maine Frontline Warmline: 207-221-8196 (Text: 898-211). Available 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. seven days a week for Maine’s health care workers, first responders, and school personnel who are experiencing stress as a result of the pandemic
  • For more resources, including AMHC services county-wide, please visit www.amhc.org or call the AMHC Call Center at 1-800-244-6431.

AMHC Welcomes Shannon Gove to Senior Leadership

AMHC Welcomes Shannon Gove as Program Director of Residential/Crisis Units in Washington County.

Ellen Bemis, CEO, Aroostook Mental Health Services, Inc. (AMHC), has announced the appointment of Shannon Gove, LSW, MHRT-C, OQMHP, to Program Director of Residential/Crisis Units in Washington County.

“It is my pleasure to welcome Shannon to the senior leadership team,” said Bemis. “As Program Director, she will oversee the residential programs in Calais, including children’s residential and both the children and adult crisis stabilization units. Throughout her eight years with the agency Shannon has demonstrated strong leadership and a passion for delivering excellent services to our clients. I look forward to working with her in this expanded capacity.”

Gove joined AMHC in 2014 as a Targeted Case Manager/Outpatient Site Coordinator in Calais. In 2019, she was appointed the Children’s Services Manager for Washington and Hancock counties. Gove received her Bachelor’s in Behavioral Science from the University of Maine Machias. She lives with her family in Dennysville.

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month

Penny Thompson, Caribou City Manager, delivered a Brain Injury Awareness Day Proclamation on March 16, 2022 to AMHC’s Center for Integrated Neuro-Rehab. Accepting the proclamation was (l to r): Reagan White, Pam Searles, Thompson, Benjamin White and Betty Hendricksen.

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. Penny Thompson, Caribou City Manager, delivered a Brain Injury Awareness Day Proclamation designating March 16, 2022 as Brain Injury Awareness Day.

“We’re very grateful to the City of Caribou for joining us in highlighting Brain Injury Awareness Month,” shared Pamela Searles, OTR/L,CBIS, Neuro-Rehabilitation Services Manager. “Our clients enjoyed sharing their artwork with Penny and sharing their stories of recovery. We hope this month has been a great opportunity for the community to learn more about brain injury prevalence in Aroostook County.”

Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are more common than many people think. 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.

Brain injuries are most commonly sustained through falls, as well as strokes, and motor vehicle accidents. Since 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 client referrals. Services are available in Caribou and Houlton; please contact them at 207-498-3820 for more information and/or eligibility requirements.

Celebrating more than 57 years, AMHC is a nonprofit organization supporting nearly 5,500 clients annually. The agency has 26 service sites and 325 employees located across Aroostook, Washington, and Hancock counties. In addition to brain injury services in Aroostook, AMHC provides mental health, substance use, crisis, and sexual assault services in its three county service area. For more information, connect with AMHC at www.amhc.org.

AMHC Welcomes Sarah Wright to Senior Leadership

AMHC Announces Sarah Wright, MHRT-CSP, as Program Director of Emergency Support Services.

Ellen Bemis, CEO, Aroostook Mental Health Services, Inc. (AMHC), has announced the appointment of Sarah Wright, MHRT-CSP, to Program Director of Emergency Support Services.

“I am pleased to welcome Sarah to the senior leadership team,” said Bemis. “As Program Director, she will oversee Mobile Crisis Services in Aroostook, Washington, and Hancock Counties as well as Adult and Children’s Crisis Stabilization Units in Aroostook. When it comes to the delivery of crisis services, Sarah has a collaborative approach with our community partners that will grow in her expanded capacity.”

Wright has fifteen years of behavioral health experience. She joined AMHC in 2015 as an Emergency Services Specialist and, after a brief hiatus, rejoined the agency in 2019 as the Supervisor for the Mobile Crisis Team for Aroostook County. Wright is currently pursuing her Master of Social Work. She lives in southern Aroostook with her family.

Aroostook Recovery Center of Hope Welcomes New Volunteer Coordinator

AMHC announces that Gregg Spelta has joined Aroostook Recovery Center of Hope as Volunteer Coordinator and Peer Support Specialist.

Aroostook Recovery Center of Hope (ARCH) is pleased to announce the addition of Gregg Spelta, Volunteer Coordinator and Peer Support Specialist. ARCH is a place where individuals can come and receive support for their recovery journey, connecting people to resources and serving as a venue for various recovery meetings.

“We are excited to have Gregg join our team,” said Stacie Holton, Peer Center Manager. “As a person in long-term recovery, Gregg is ready to support others in their journey. We encourage people to give him a call or stop in to visit. He is looking forward to sharing all the ways ARCH supports individuals in recovery.”

ARCH is open to everyone, including people in recovery, struggling with substance/alcohol/opioid use disorder(s), affected others, allies, and community members. Located at 59 Main Street in Houlton, ARCH is an Aroostook Mental Health Services, Inc. (AMHC) service collaborating with Link for Hope. For more information about ARCH services, please contact Spelta by email at gspelta@amhc.org, phone at 254-2213, or on Facebook at ARCH04730.

AMHC Announces Michelle Ferris as Chief Operations Officer

AMHC announces appointment of Michelle Ferris, LCSW as Chief Operations Officer.

Ellen Bemis, CEO, Aroostook Mental Health Services, Inc. (AMHC) has announced the appointment of Michelle Ferris, LCSW to Chief Operations Officer. “Michelle’s experience in direct service, administration, and as a member of the senior leadership team, combined with her 15 years of service to AMHC makes her well suited for the role.”

As COO, Ferris will oversee AMHC’s day-to-day operations across all services and sites in partnership with the senior leadership team. She replaces Jennette Hitchcock, LCSW, who will retire as Chief Operations Officer in late February.

Ferris joined AMHC in 2006 and assumed increasing roles of responsibility primarily in emergency services. She joined the senior leadership team in 2019 as the Program Director of Emergency Services in Aroostook, Washington, and Hancock counties. Michelle is a graduate of Columbia University School of Social Work in the City of New York.

Celebrating more than 57 years, AMHC is a nonprofit organization supporting nearly 5,500 clients annually. The agency has 26 service sites and 325 employees located across Aroostook, Washington, and Hancock counties providing mental health, substance use, crisis, and sexual assault services. For more information, connect with AMHC at www.amhc.org.

New Resource Offered to Court Users Impacted by Substance Use in Washington County

Maryanne Young, AMHC Recovery Support Navigator, offers free, confidential services to court-involved individuals impacted by substance use and mental health challenges.

Aroostook Mental Health Services, Inc. (AMHC) is pleased to partner with the New England Regional Judicial Opioid Initiative, in collaboration with the Washington County District and Superior Courts, to offer a pilot program known as Recovery Support Navigation in Washington County. It is a free, confidential, and voluntary service for court-involved individuals impacted by substance use and mental health challenges. Funding for this program comes from the Bureau of Justice Assistance.

“Our county has the highest rates of overdose deaths in New England,” explained Judge David Mitchell, Washington County District Court. “It is critical that we combat substance use disorder from many different angles and this program has proved successful in other parts of the country. ”

Services are provided by Maryanne Young, AMHC Recovery Support Navigator, who assists individuals and their loved ones with understanding prevention, treatment, and recovery resources available in the community; accessing substance use treatment services including Medication Assisted Treatment for addiction or psychiatric medications; developing personal goals and objectives related to addressing substance use disorder; MaineCare enrollment; and connections to care coordination services including housing, transportation, and employment.

Navigation services are eligible to court users or family members involved with any court department and do not need to have a current open case or be on probation to receive services. Referrals may come from the defense counsel, district attorney’s office, probation department, healthcare providers, law enforcement, and family members. Self-referrals are also welcome.

For more information, please reach out to Maryanne Young, Recovery Support Navigator by phone at 207-496-9733 or by email at myoung@amhc.org.

About Bureau of Justice

Recovery Support Navigation in Washington County Maine is supported in part by Grant No. 2017-PM-BX-K037 awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA). BJA is a component of the Department of Justices’ Office of Justice Programs. The Recovery Support Navigation program is also supported by the New England Regional Judicial Opioid Initiative and AMHC.

AMHC Seeks Community Feedback on Aroostook’s Substance Use Epidemic

Erik Lamoreau, AMHC Project Coordinator is encouraging all residents to complete a short survey on substance use in Aroostook County to help gauge public opinion on stigma, access to services, and gaps in service. The survey closes on January 7, 2022, and participants will be eligible to win one of five $100 gift cards.

Aroostook Mental Health Services, Inc. (AMHC) is asking community members to participate in a survey that will help the agency and its consortium update the 2020 Community Health Needs Assessment and Gap Analysis, which is focused on substance use in Aroostook County. The survey gauges public opinion on stigma, access to services, and gaps in service.

“Overdose deaths continue to increase and we are working to reverse that trend,” said Erik Lamoreau, AMHC’s Project Coordinator. “Updating our community survey is an important part of the process – we help ensure that our work aligns with evidence-based practices and community priorities.”  The community survey is available on AMHC’s Facebook page, on its website and will be widely distributed through community partners. The electronic version is mobile-friendly and hard copies will be provided to individuals or organizations upon request.

This effort is part of AMHC’s 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.  “In 2021, AMHC also received a HRSA RCORP Implementation grant, a three-year, $1 million award to assist in adopting critical initiatives identified in the needs assessment,” explained Lamoreau. “That work has already begun and supported by our consortium members.” Representatives from AMHC, Northern Maine Medical Center, Cary Medical Center, Northern Light A.R. Gould Hospital, Houlton Regional Hospital, Aroostook County Sheriff’s Office, MicMac Behavioral Health Department, and a person in recovery are part of the consortium.

This 10-minute survey will conclude at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, January 7, 2021. All individuals who include their name and a contact number will be entered into a drawing for one of five $100 Amazon gift cards. Winners will be contacted on Monday, January 10. Please note: Gift cards will only be awarded to individuals living in Aroostook County.  For more information or to request a copy of the survey, 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 Joins Workforce Board’s Recovery Friendly Employer Network

Aroostook Mental Health Services, Inc. (AMHC) has joined the Northeastern Workforce Development Board’s (NWDB) Recovery Friendly Employer network. “AMHC is excited to announce its participation,” said Brittany Ballard, Director of Human Resources. “A major goal of this project is for employers to formally recognize their support of recovery, and then decide how that can be implemented within our own workplace practices.”

NWBD recently voted to create a network and support system for employers that are recovery-friendly. “Addiction and the opioid crisis have hit Maine hard. People in recovery are struggling to find employment and businesses are feeling the impact of substance use disorder,” explains Joanna Russell, Executive Director of the NWDB.  “To help turn the tide, employers can adopt a culture that openly supports recovery, which can improve both employee satisfaction and better our community.

By joining this initiative, AMHC reinforces its commitment to a healthy, safe, and stigma-free work environment to eliminate barriers to recovery for those impacted by addiction. “In early November employees were notified of our involvement,” shared Ballard. “Being designated a Recovery Friendly Employer is a great step in AMHC formally declaring the agency’s support for recovery.”

About NWDB’s Recovery Friendly Employer Network

As a member of the network, employers will have access to tailored advice, workshops, and resource materials. The NWDB will publish a formal list of employees in mid-January 2022. All businesses interested in taking part can visit the NWDB webpage (https://www.northeasternwdb.org/recovery-friendly-employers/) or contact Joanna Russell at 207-951-2549.

MECASA Recognizes Wendy Page with Advancing the Mission Award

Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault (MECASA) announced the recipients of the 2022 MECASA Awards – given annually to …

AMHC Highlights Mental Health Month in May

May is Mental Health Month, and Aroostook Mental Health Services, Inc. (AMHC) is pleased to join Mental Health America in …

AMHC Welcomes Shannon Gove to Senior Leadership

Ellen Bemis, CEO, Aroostook Mental Health Services, Inc. (AMHC), has announced the appointment of Shannon Gove, LSW, MHRT-C, …