AMHC News

Center for Integrated Neuro Rehab Achieves Three-Year CARF Accreditation

Pam Searles, Neuro-Rehabilitation Services Manager for Center for Integrated Neuro Rehab (CINR), a program of AMHC, proudly displays the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) certificate CINR was recently reissued for another three years.

Center for Integrated Neuro Rehab (CINR), a program of Aroostook Mental Health Services, Inc. (AMHC), is pleased to announce that it has been reissued a three-year accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF).

“In their letter, CARF shared that our ability to achieve their highest level of accreditation is an indication of our organization’s dedication and commitment to improving the quality of the lives of the individuals we serve,” said Christine Brown, LCSW, CCS, AMHC Program Director of Community Integration. “We are proud of our staff who work each day to improve the lives of those diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury, or TBI.”

CARF is an independent, nonprofit accreditor of health and human services. Through accreditation, CARF assists service providers in improving their services, demonstrating value, and meeting internationally recognized organizational and program standards. Accreditation is an on-going process, establishing a provider’s commitment to enhance its performance, manage its risk, and distinguish its service delivery.

CINR first became CARF accredited in 2008. This is the fifth time the program has gone through the process. “Continuous process improvement is critical to the success of our program,” explained Brown.

Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) 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. They address intellectual, emotional, and social functioning deficits to increase a brain injury survivor’s maximum recovery. Services may include psychological services, group therapy, family support groups, physical, occupational, speech therapy, and community reintegration.

Traumatic brain injuries are more common than many people think. On average weekly in Maine, there are nearly 200 TBI-related hospital emergency department visits. CINR works with individuals to help them gain more physical function skills, language/cognition, social/emotional well-being, and more independence with life skills. There is hope and help in overcoming the challenges associated with traumatic brain injury.

CINR services are offered at its facility at 159 Bennett Drive in Caribou and AMHC’s Houlton Outpatient Office at 11 Mill Street. CINR is currently accepting client referrals. Please contact them at 207-498-3820 for more information or to learn more about eligibility requirements.

AMHC Acquires Presque Isle Property, Increasing Access to Services

Greg Moody, CADC and Substance Abuse Counselor at AMHC’s Presque Isle Outpatient Office (PIOP), gets settled at PIOP’s new location at 180 Academy Street, Presque Isle.

Aroostook Mental Health Services, Inc. (AMHC) is pleased to announce that the agency has acquired the property at 180 Academy Street in Presque Isle. Previously known as Prasanna Suites, the former medical facility will house AMHC’s Presque Isle Outpatient Office, administrative services, and by early spring, 2021 an expanded adult crisis stabilization unit (ACSU).

“This is an exciting time for AMHC,” shared Ellen Bemis, CEO. “For several years, the agency has been searching for a suitable property to expand our adult crisis stabilization services. When this property became available, our board of directors saw the potential to bring a number of services under one roof.”

Situated along Presque Isle’s “healthcare corridor,” the property is near Northern Light A.R. Gould Hospital and numerous other healthcare providers. “By bringing a number of services together, we make it possible for community members to more easily access the care they need,” said Bemis.

As of Monday, January 18, AMHC’s Presque Isle Outpatient and administrative staff will deliver services from 180 Academy Street. The Adult Crisis Stabilization Unit (ACSU) services will remain open at its current location at 162 Main Street. The opening of the new, expanded ACSU will be announced in March 2021.

AMHC is the Local Provider for StrengthenME in Aroostook, Washington and Hancock counties

StrengthenME is Maine’s behavioral health and resiliency response to COVID-19. Community health workers are available from 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. by contacting the statewide support number at 207-221-8198 or 866-367-4588. Residents of Aroostook, Washington, and Hancock counties also have the option to connect through a local number at 207-762-4851.

Providing support to individuals for stressors related to COVID-19

Aroostook Mental Health Services, Inc. (AMHC) is pleased to be the local provider for StrengthenME in Aroostook, Washington, and Hancock counties. StrengthenME is Maine’s behavioral health and resiliency response to COVID-19, providing free stress management, wellness, and resiliency resources.

“For individuals struggling with the stress of the pandemic, StrengthenME is here to support you,” explains Michelle Ferris, Program Director of Emergency Services. “Community health workers are here to listen, provide ideas for you to consider, and help you connect with community resources.  We also encourage providers and other professionals to call for support as well, either for themselves or those they assist in a professional capacity.”

COVID-19 has changed things. Work is different. School is different. Home is different. Life is different, and that can be hard. The toll COVID-19 has taken on individuals, families, and communities is real.

StrengthenME offers stress management tools, emotional support resources, and program and community connections that promote wellness, resilience, empowerment, and recovery. StrengthenME is free, confidential, anonymous, and available to anyone in Maine.

Community health workers are available from 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. by contacting the statewide support number at 207-221-8198 or 866-367-4588. Residents of Aroostook, Washington, and Hancock counties also have the option to connect through a local number at 207-762-4851.

Aroostook Recovery Center of Hope Hosts Virtual Recovery Support Group

Chelsea Putnam, ARCH Peer Support Specialist, and Volunteer Coordinator recently started a virtual recovery support group. All community members are welcome.

Aroostook Recovery Center of Hope (ARCH) is now hosting a virtual Recovery Support Group every Friday from 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. ARCH is a place where individuals can come and receive support for their recovery journey, connecting people to resources and also serve as a venue for various recovery meetings.

“This support group is open to everyone including people in recovery, people struggling with substance/alcohol/opioid use disorder(s), affected others, allies, and community members,” said Chelsea Putnam, Peer Support Specialist, and Volunteer Coordinator. “I am excited about the participation we’ve had so far. I think this group will help many individuals find their path to recovery.”

Each week a special guest will be invited to the meeting to share their story and provide information. Guests will include peer support specialists, recovery coaches, community program leaders, recovery specialists, people in recovery, volunteers, advocates, etc. “We can learn a lot from each other,” shared Putnam. “This is a great way for people in our community to interact with one another from the comfort of their home, especially important as we head into the winter season and for those who may have transportation challenges.”

Located at 36 North Street in Houlton, ARCH is a service of Aroostook Mental Health Services, Inc. (AMHC) in collaboration with Link for Hope. To receive a link to the Recovery Support Group meeting or for more information about ARCH services please contact Putnam by email at cputnam@amhc.org or by phone at 254-2213.

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 Receives 2020 Caring About Lives in Maine Award

The AMHC Zero Suicide Leadership Team was presented the 2020 Caring About Lives in Maine (CAL ME) Award by the Maine Suicide Prevention Program (MSPP). Accepting the award was Michelle Ferris, LCSW, AMHC Program Director of Emergency Services.

Aroostook Mental Health Services, Inc. (AMHC) is pleased to announce that the AMHC Zero Suicide Leadership Team was selected for the 2020 Caring About Lives in Maine (CAL ME) Award. Presented by the Maine Suicide Prevention Program (MSPP) and its Advisory Council, the award recognizes individuals and organizations promoting suicide prevention through education, stigma reduction, active intervention, and/or ongoing support of suicide survivors.

“At AMHC we believe that one suicide is one too many and we take the public health issue of suicide very seriously,” shared Michelle Ferris, AMHC Program Director of Emergency Services. “Thanks to the Zero Suicide initiative we have been able to advance our practices of screening, assessment, intervention, follow up, and community education and collaboration.”

Highlights include training all clinical staff in current best practices, enhancing AMHC’s electronic service record to capture more data related to suicidality, and reducing the stigma related to suicidality and help-seeking behavior. Thanks to organizations like the United Way of Aroostook, AMHC has also increased its capacity to offer more community-based trainings on this topic.

Sheila Nelson, MPH, MSW, and Program Manager for the State of Maine Department of Health and Human Services’ Maine Center for Disease Control, nominated AMHC for the award. The MSPP, led by the Maine CDC Adolescent Health and Injury Prevention Program, is committed to excellence in suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention. “We recognize that vibrant community partnerships are essential to preventing suicide, promoting resiliency, and supporting recovery and well-being,” said Nelson. “We thank AMHC for your hard work and are looking forward to recognizing your efforts on behalf of Mainers in your community.”

The award was presented on October 1, 2020, at the annual Beyond the Basics in Suicide Prevention conference, which was held virtually this year. For more information on “Zero Suicide,” please visit www.zerosuicide.com.

Roads to Recovery Hosts “Fall into Recovery” Picnic

Erik Lamoreau, Substance Use Disorder Peer Recovery Center Manager is preparing for a picnic at Roads to Recovery on Thursday, September 17 from 12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. The event is part of National Recovery Month.

Roads to Recovery (R2R), a service of AMHC, will host a picnic on Thursday, September 17 from 12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.  R2R is located at One Water Street in Caribou and is a place where individuals can come and receive support for their recovery journey, connecting people to resources and also serve as a venue for various recovery meetings.

“We are looking forward to this event,” said Erik Lamoreu, Substance Use Disorder Peer Recovery Center Manager. “The pandemic has changed how we support our recovery community but our team has worked hard to keep people connected and engaged. We will continue to support individuals through in-person and telehealth meetings including SMART (Self Management and Recovery Training), Parents in Recovery, Relationships and Addiction, Narcotics Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous, and Probation and Recovery.”

The event is known as “Fall into Recovery,” and coincides with National Recovery Month, held each September. Community members are welcome and asked to wear masks and practice social distancing. “We will have some individually wrapped snacks to enjoy as well as an opportunity to share more about the services at R2R,” said Lamoreau.  “Narcan training will be provided and kits will be handed out. We will also have fun decorating masks that attendees can take home with them.”

For more information on the activities or resources offered at Roads to Recovery please contact them at 207-493-1278.

Celebrating more than 55 years, AMHC is a nonprofit organization supporting nearly 6,000 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.

Aroostook Recovery Center of Hope Hosts One Year Anniversary Celebration

Chelsea Putnam, Peer Support Specialist and Volunteer Coordinator is preparing for a one-year anniversary celebration on Saturday, September 12 from 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Aroostook Recovery Center of Hope (ARCH) will host a one-year anniversary celebration on Saturday, September 12 from 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.  ARCH is located at 36 North Street in Houlton and is a place where individuals can come and receive support for their recovery journey, connecting people to resources and also serve as a venue for various recovery meetings.

“A great deal has happened since ARCH opened its doors last September,” shared Chelsea Putnam, Peer Support Specialist and Volunteer Coordinator. “Although the pandemic has changed how we support our recovery community we are pleased to continue to be an important resource.”  In the past year, ARCH has supported individuals in their recovery journey through in-person and telehealth meetings including SMART (Self Management and Recovery Training), Parents in Recovery, Relationships and Addiction, Narcotics Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous, and Probation and Recovery.

The anniversary celebration, known as “Fall into Recovery,” coincides with National Recovery Month, held each September. Community members are welcome and asked to wear masks and practice social distancing. “We will have some individually wrapped snacks to enjoy as well as an opportunity to share more about the services at ARCH,” said Putnam.  “Narcan training will be provided and kits will be handed out. We will also have fun decorating masks that attendees can take home with them.”

ARCH is a service of Aroostook Mental Health Services, Inc. (AMHC) in collaboration with Link for Hope. For more information on the activities or resources offered at ARCH, please contact Putnam at 207-254-2213.

AMHC Raises Awareness on Suicide

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and AMHC is encouraging everyone to learn the signs of suicide and not be afraid to ask for help. AMHC is available to anyone experiencing a crisis. To access their Mobile Emergency Services team please call or text the Maine Crisis Line at 1-888-568-1112

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

September is designated as National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and Aroostook Mental Health Services, Inc. (AMHC) encourages everyone to Take 5 to Save Lives!

“Due to the pandemic, this year AMHC will be relying heavily on social media to raise awareness about suicide,” explains Michelle Ferris, Director of Emergency Services.  “According to the Maine Centers for Disease Control, suicide is the second leading cause of death for Mainers ages 10-45. Our State’s suicide rate remains higher than the rest of the nation and more people die from suicide than from car accidents or breast cancer. AMHC is available to anyone experiencing a crisis. To access our Mobile Emergency Services team please call or text the Maine Crisis Line at 1-888-568-1112.”

Take 5 to Save Lives is a public awareness campaign run by the National Council for Suicide Prevention in support of World Suicide Prevention Day, to be held on Thursday, September 10, 2020. The goal of the campaign is to encourage everyone to take 5 simple actions steps that focus on preventing the tragedy of suicide. The steps include:

  1. LEARN THE SIGNS. Although it may not always be obvious, individuals experiencing an emotional crisis usually exhibit one or more of the warning signs of suicide. Your ability to identify the signs will better prepare you to take action and could help save a life.
  2. KNOW HOW TO HELP. You shouldn’t be afraid to ask your friend if they’re having thoughts of suicide. By knowing exactly what to say and do, you’ll be ready to act and keep your friends and family safe.
  3. PRACTICE SELF-CARE. Research indicates that our mental fitness or wellness is crucial to our overall long-term health, and can even protect us from disease. Learn some tips for keeping mentally fit. Make it a priority!
  4. REACH OUT. If you or someone you know is in emotional distress you must reach out for help. You are not alone. Learn about different help options and how to take that first step in seeking help and care.
  5. SPREAD THE WORD. Let’s get people talking! By sharing the Take 5 campaign with 5 other people we can raise awareness of the problem of suicide and equip people with easy tools to help themselves and others. Together we can all make a difference!

By taking 5 minutes to learn about suicide, you will be making a difference in the world!

Creating a Community that Celebrates Recovery

Recovery Aroostook and Roads to Recovery are partnering together to observe International Overdose Awareness Day on Monday, August 31. Luminary bags created in honor of loved ones will be on display at Lyndon Park in Caribou at 8:00 P.M., similar to this remembrance ceremony in 2019.

Recovery Aroostook in partnership with Roads to Recovery, a service of Aroostook Mental Health Services, Inc. (AMHC), are observing International Overdose Awareness Day on Monday, August 31.

“This annual event is a day to remember those who have lost their life to substance use disorder, explained Erik Lamoreau, Substance Use Disorder Peer Recovery Center Manager. “Now through August 31, community members are invited to stop by Roads to Recovery and create a luminary bag in remembrance and recognition of loved ones.”

Other activities on August 31 include Naloxone training and Naloxone distribution at Roads to Recovery. That evening, at 8:00 p.m., the luminary bags will be placed for public view at Lyndon Park, following a moment of silence. “We hope to see many community members supporting the vigil,” shared Keely LeBlanc, Recovery Aroostook.

For more information about International Overdose Awareness Day and local activities, please contact Erik Lamoreau at Roads to Recovery, 1 Water Street, Caribou, by phone at 207-493-1278 or email at elamoreau@amhc.org or Keely LeBlanc, Recovery Aroostook at recoveryaroostook@gmail.com.

About Recovery Aroostook

A grassroots, non-profit organization, which continues to fulfill their mission of: “providing sustainable resources and services to individuals seeking recovery, and anyone impacted by addiction,” by such endeavors as the recent opening of the Caribou Recovery House for Men. Recovery Aroostook is continuously looking to future undertakings, such as opening a Recovery Residence for women.

About Roads to Recovery

A service of AMHC, Roads to Recovery is a place where individuals can come and receive support for their recovery journey, connect people to resources, and also serve as a venue for a variety of recovery meetings. AMHC is a nonprofit organization supporting nearly 6,000 clients annually. The agency has 26 service sites across Aroostook, Washington, and Hancock counties providing mental health, substance use, crisis, sexual assault services.

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