Category: <span>News</span>

AMHC Sexual Assault Services Partnership Creates Virtual Statewide Support Group

Clockwise, top left: Wendy Page, AMHC Sexual Assault Services, Eliza Burwell, Sexual Assault Services of Southern Maine, and Rochelle Black, Rape and Response Services, have partnered together to offer a virtual statewide support group for survivors of sexual violence. Individuals can learn more by calling or texting the Sexual Assault Services 24/7 helpline at 1-800-871-7741.

AMHC Sexual Assault Services (AMHC SAS), Rape and Response Services (RRS), and Sexual Assault Services of Southern Maine (SARSSM) have partnered together to create a virtual statewide support group.

“The support group is open to all survivors of sexual violence,” explained Julia Miller, AMHC Program Director of Prevention and Sexual Assault Services. “The pandemic has created new opportunities to partner in virtual meetings. We are pleased we can work with RRS and SARSSM to offer this.”

“We all have a role to play in the prevention of sexual assault,” shared Miller. “AMHC Sexual Assault Services has provided services to individuals who have been affected by sexual violence since 1984. We not only advocate for victims and offer support to survivors 24/7. We provide prevention education for all ages on sexual violence, sexual harassment, internet safety, and personal body safety.”

To learn more about services, including the virtual support group, individuals can call the Sexual Assault Services 24/7 helpline at 1-800-871-7741.

About Rape and Response Services
The mission of Rape and Response Services is to offer hope, support, and advocacy to victims and people affected by sexual assault and stalking, to provide education about sexual violence, and to promote prevention.

About Sexual Assault Response Services of Southern Maine
Sexual Assault Response Services of Southern Maine provides free services in York and Cumberland counties to anyone affected by sexual assault, sexual harassment, or sexual abuse through prevention programs, support, education, and advocacy. Services have been provided since 1973.

About AMHC Sexual Assault Services
AMHC Sexual Assault Services Advocates 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. Calls, texts, and chats are free and confidential. For more information, visit AMHC Sexual Assault Services at https://www.amhcsas.org/.

AMHC Announces Promotion of Brittany Ballard to Senior Leadership

AMHC Announces Promotion of Brittany Ballard to Director of Human Resources.

Ellen Bemis, CEO, Aroostook Mental Health Services, Inc. (AMHC), has announced the promotion of Brittany Ballard to Director of Human Resources. Brittany’s new role includes joining AMHC’s Senior Leadership Team. “We are very pleased to have Brittany accept this promotion,” said Bemis. “As we continue to expand programming across our region, her addition to the senior leadership team helps ensure the infrastructure is in place to serve our staff and clients well.”

Ballard joined AMHC in 2008. She has been part of the human resources team for seven years, serving the last five as HR Manager. Before that, she worked as a crisis counselor in Emergency Services. Ballard is an active member of the Society of Human Resources Management. She resides in Caribou with her family.

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 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).

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.

AMHC Sexual Assault Services Partnership Creates Virtual Statewide Support Group

AMHC Sexual Assault Services (AMHC SAS), Rape and Response Services (RRS), and Sexual Assault Services of Southern Maine …

AMHC Announces Promotion of Brittany Ballard to Senior Leadership

Ellen Bemis, CEO, Aroostook Mental Health Services, Inc. (AMHC), has announced the promotion of Brittany Ballard to Director …

Center for Integrated Neuro Rehab Achieves Three-Year CARF Accreditation

Center for Integrated Neuro Rehab (CINR), a program of Aroostook Mental Health Services, Inc. (AMHC), is pleased to announce …