Category: <span>News</span>

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.

Volunteer Drivers Needed to Support Community Members

Theresa Shaw, AMHC Transportation Coordinator for County Ride, is seeking volunteer drivers to support eligible community members who need help with transportation. Drivers receive non-taxable mileage reimbursement for their service. Learn more by contacting Theresa at 207-492-1379.

County Ride, a program of Aroostook Mental Health Services, Inc. (AMHC), is seeking volunteer drivers to provide rides to eligible community members who require transportation to and from needed community resources and social activities.

“The most important qualifications we ask of our volunteer drivers is that they offer a safe, friendly, and respectable atmosphere while providing transportation in a reliable vehicle,” explains Theresa Shaw, AMHC Transportation Coordinator. “This is a perfect way for individuals who have a few hours of spare time each week to help others and make some extra income at the same time.”

Drivers receive income through non-taxable mileage reimbursement. They also have flexibility in the days and times they choose to help individuals like Helen who says, “County Ride is basically a lifesaver for me. I don’t have any other way to get rides and it helps me financially”; or Margaret who shares, “I use County Ride a lot. I very, very much appreciate having County Ride to rely on.”

You may contact Theresa Shaw at 207-492-1379 or by email at tshaw@amhc.org to learn more about how you can make a difference in your community.

AMHC and State of Maine Partner on Information & Referral Line in Washington County

Arlene Ouellette, AMHC Emergency Service Specialist – Mobile Dispatch, is one of several staff members supporting the new 24/7 Information and Referral Line in Washington County. This six-month pilot project is intended to support individuals with substance use disorder.

Pilot Project Established to Save Lives and Support Individuals with Substance Use Disorder

Aroostook Mental Health Services, Inc. (AMHC), is pleased to announce its selection by the State of Maine to pilot an information and referral line in Washington County for those challenged by substance use disorder.

“To put it simply, we are trying to save lives,” explains Michelle Ferris, AMHC Program Director of Emergency Services for Aroostook, Washington and Hancock counties. “Washington County has the highest rate of death due to drug overdose in the State.  By creating a central coordinating telephone system that is staffed 24/7 and available to law enforcement; medical and emergency personnel; public officials; education staff; and other members of the public, we hope to reduce the number of fatal overdoses.”

The pilot project is for six months and staff will connect callers with referral services to counseling, peer services, recovery coaching, and/or other related assistance. The project is intended to coordinate service needs that help bridge any gaps in services needed to support treatment and recovery services for those with substance use disorder. “Individuals can be seeking information about services for themselves or others,” said Ferris.

The phone line is now live and can be reached at 1-833-687-4887 (833-NVR-GVUP) or (207) 454-1999.

AMHC Announces New Program Director

Ellen Bemis, CEO, Aroostook Mental Health Services, Inc. (AMHC) has announced that Julia Miller has joined the AMHC Senior Leadership Team. “We are very pleased to have Julia join us as the Program Director of Prevention and Sexual Assault Services,” said Bemis. “Due to the recent expansion of agency programs, the time was right to add an additional program director. Julia’s experience makes her a great asset to our team and the clients we serve.”

Julia oversees youth prevention and leadership initiatives provided by Aroostook Teen Leadership Camp (ATLC) and in partnership with Maine Youth Action Network. In addition, she manages Sexual Assault Services in Aroostook, Hancock, and Washington Counties, including the Children’s Advocacy Centers, which are committed to minimizing trauma and promoting healing for children and their families following the allegation of sexual abuse.  Julia served the Aroostook Band of Micmacs for 25 years including as Tribal Clerk and most recently as Tribal Administrator. She is a trained advocate in both sexual assault and domestic violence and serves as a board member for the Wabanaki Women’s Coalition, which she helped create in 2012.

Center for Integrated Neuro Rehab Now Offering Services in Southern Aroostook

Center for Integrated Neuro Rehab (CINR), a program of AMHC, is now offering services in Houlton. The CINR team, including Pam Searles, Neuro-Rehabilitation Services Manager, is meeting with clients on Thursdays at AMHC’s Houlton Outpatient Office at 11 Mill Street.

Center for Integrated Neuro Rehab (CINR), a program of Aroostook Mental Health Services, Inc. (AMHC), is pleased to announce that it now offers services in Houlton as well as Caribou.

“Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are more common than many people think,” explained Pamela Searles, OTR/L,CBIS, Neuro-Rehabilitation Services Manager. “In Maine alone, on average every week, there are nearly 200 TBI-related hospital emergency department visits. At CINR, we work 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. We want people to know that there is hope and help in overcoming the challenges associated with traumatic brain injury.”

Until recently, all CINR services have been offered at its facility located at 159 Bennett Drive in Caribou. Recognizing the transportation challenges for clients living in southern Aroostook, treatment is now offered at AMHC’s Houlton Outpatient Office at 11 Mill Street on Thursdays from 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

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. 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, and speech therapy as well as community reintegration.

Fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, CINR is currently accepting client referrals. Please contact them at 207-498-3820 for more information and/or to learn more about eligibility requirements.

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, sexual assault services, and brain injury services (Aroostook County). For more information, connect with AMHC at www.amhc.org.

AMHC Successfully Uses Telemedicine during COVID-19

Dr. Thayanne Delima-Tokarz, DO has been providing telepsychiatry for Aroostook Mental Health Services, Inc. (AMHC) patients in Aroostook, Washington, and Hancock counties. Iris Telehealth works with psychiatrists including Dr. Delmia-Tokarz to provide services to residents in rural areas who may not otherwise have access to the services they need. Iris Telehealth recently asked AMHC for information on its best practices to share with other providers across the nation.

Community health clinics across the United States report a 43% drop in the number of client visits during the quarantine. However, Aroostook Mental Health Services, Inc. (AMHC) has ramped up the use of technology during the COVID-19 pandemic and increased the number of client visits by 20%.

In a recent article, the chief psychiatrist at Kaiser Permanente stated that over 90% of mental health visits in the U.S. are now happening virtually, which is a change for many practices.

However, AMHC was already an early adopter of telehealth and they were able to quickly expand their existing practice. While continuing to offer in-clinic appointments, telepsychiatry offers mental health services directly to the client through HIPAA-compliant video conferencing or telephone calls.

AMHC recognized the potential of telepsychiatry to solve mental health challenges years ago and found it ideally suited to serve the people of Aroostook, Hancock, and Washington counties in Northern and Downeast Maine. Telepsychiatry helps solve a critical shortage of psychiatric providers, especially in rural areas. Half of the counties in the U.S. do not have even one psychiatrist and it is estimated that 111 million people live in a mental health shortage area. Using technology, a provider can see clients anywhere there is a viable internet connection.

AMHC partners with Iris Telehealth, a telepsychiatry group, to provide psychiatrists. This has allowed AMHC to provide medication management services for adults and children. “It’s been an honor to work alongside AMHC over the past 3 years,” said Dr. Tarik Shaheen, CEO at Iris Telehealth. “Their deep commitment to patient care and the ability to adapt quickly during COVID-19 sets a wonderful example for other community health organizations in the northeast and the rest of the U.S.”

Recent events have encouraged many clients who previously came to AMHC in-person to use telehealth services. The clinics provide psychiatric evaluations, teletherapy—individual therapy, group therapy, family therapy—client education, and medication management, directly to the client who remains at home.

“AMHC appreciates its partnership with Iris Telehealth to provide psychiatrists for our clients who require medication management services,” said Ellen Bemis, AMHC CEO. “It can be a challenge to recruit psychiatrists to rural areas such as ours. By offering the service remotely we help ensure our community members receive the support they need. Iris Telehealth has been an important part of our ability to adapt quickly to the changes that occurred with the pandemic.”

Many clients, particularly the elderly and those at high-risk, appreciate the convenience of seeing their provider from the comfort of home. Providers report there are fewer cancellations now that travel is not required.

In a recent survey, 45% of respondents said events related to the coronavirus have affected their mental health. In response to the need for increased services, AMHC added 80 new Zoom accounts to boost their virtual service capacity and provide same-day access when needed.

report from Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, suggests that stress from COVID-19 may cause increased ‘diseases of despair’, including suicides and addiction. AMHC believes these issues are treatable and telepsychiatry can connect people with the care they need.

To connect with AMHC, please call their Access Center at 1-800-244-6431 or visit them on the web at https://www.amhc.org or https://www.facebook.com/AMHC1964/.

About AMHC

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, sexual assault services, and brain injury services (Aroostook County). For more information, connect with AMHC at www.amhc.org.

About Iris Telehealth

Iris Telehealth’s mission is to help patients, providers, and healthcare organizations achieve their goals through clinically sound and financially sustainable psychiatry programs. With our clinical grounding and emphasis on human relationships, we identify best-fit providers for each unique organization and ensure a long-term commitment to meeting our partner’s needs, allowing them to provide the highest quality care to their patients and community. For more information, please visit iristelehealth.com.

AMHC Stands with Black Lives Matter

In the midst of a public health and social crisis, AMHC reaffirms our respect for mankind. Nearly 250 years after “all men are created equal” was first penned in the Declaration of Independence, we are still working to create a society that embraces those words. During these difficult days, AMHC joins others across the country and around the world to acknowledge those who are oppressed, discriminated against, treated unjustly, treated inhumanely, abused psychologically and/or physically, and worse. We do not tolerate racism. We share in the responsibility to end discrimination and the negative effects of stigma in all forms.

AMHC’s core values include integrity and respect. We believe in treating everyone consistently by the same set of sound, moral, and ethical principles and hold in high regard every individual’s rights, responsibilities, and abilities.  We believe that having compassion for all and seeking to fully understand one another is an important step in improving the well-being of our society, and to inspire the hope and healing we desperately need right now.

Roads to Recovery Hosts “Fall into Recovery” Picnic

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 …

Aroostook Recovery Center of Hope Hosts One Year Anniversary Celebration

Aroostook Recovery Center of Hope (ARCH) will host a one-year anniversary celebration on Saturday, September 12 from 12:00 …

AMHC Raises Awareness on Suicide

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month September is designated as National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and …