Nonprofit receives $1.3 million to expand behavioral health services – Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel

Medical Care Development’s public health division, headquartered in Augusta, has received a three-year grant to expand behavioral health care services in rural Maine through education, training and mentorship programs.

The $1.3 million grant aims to help bring new workers into the behavioral health workforce, support early career staff to develop new skills and become eligible for additional certifications, and offer clinical health providers opportunities to enhance their skill in treatment and intervention for behavioral health disorders, focusing on substance use disorder.

“You do not have to be a clinician in order to help your friends and neighbors with substance use disorder,” said Lisa Tuttle, a program manager at the division, according to a news release from the nonprofit. “Through structured training and mentoring, we can bring more people into the field of behavioral health, often in the rural communities where they already live. By offering learning collaboratives and Project ECHO format training to clinical providers and office staff, we can improve access and quality of care.”

The Healthy Lincoln County community connector will coordinate efforts led by the county’s food pantries, farms and community organizations addressing hunger. Additionally, the connector will assist in educating the community on available resources to help reduce stigma around food insecurity and ensure that more individuals in Lincoln County have access to the food resources they need.

Success will be determined through access to food in a centralized, coordinated way while addressing issues, such as isolation and transportation barriers and distributing surplus foods.

The division was one of three awardees that received the Rural Behavioral Health Workforce Coordinating Centers for Northern Border Region grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, which resides in the Health Resources & Services Administration. Organizations that received grant funding are located in the northern border regions of New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine.

The goals include building a network of partners to implement training, mentorship programs, and recruitment for behavioral health providers in the selected rural areas, as well as assessing the needs and opportunities in the rural areas to inform future activities.

To accomplish this, the division is partnering with an array of leading organizations, training, and subject matter experts who have received policy funds to address opiate use disorder and substance use disorder. These partners will engage with a broader group of stakeholders, and people who have experience with substance use disorder to increase connections to existing career opportunities in behavioral health and the role everyone has in …….


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