Mid-Coast Mental Health Center was recently recognized by the Maine Co-Occurring State Integration Initiative for “dedicated work and success as champions for co-occurring services in the state of Maine.” MCMHC participated in a pilot project as part of the initiative’s five-year commitment to encourage and support the integration of mental health and substance abuse services in Maine.

MCMHC was established in 1966, and has offices in Rockland and Belfast. In addition to providing a wide range of mental health services, MCMHC provides outpatient substance abuse services and counseling through its Choice Skyward Program.

“We were very fortunate to be part of this project,” said Michael Morse, manager of substance abuse services at MCMHC. “We received extensive training and technical support while having the opportunity to measure outcomes and evaluate services.”

Funded by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the Maine Co-Occurring State Integration Initiative was designed to develop and support state and provider capacity to deliver integrated services for people with complex, co-occurring conditions, especially mental health and substance use issues. During the past five years, the initiative has partnered with 30 Maine agencies providing training, advocacy and support.

Claudia Bepko, coordinator of the initiative in Maine, said the project is helping to change how the state — and providers in Maine — serve individuals with co-occurring mental health and substance abuse conditions.

“We have been working with organizations to integrate care, provide extensive training and technical support, and collaborate with consumer and provider committees to change policies and procedures at the state level,” Bepko said. “As a result, Maine now has a policy requiring that all providers become capable of working with substance abuse and mental health problems in an integrated way. Leaders throughout DHHS are working on ways to develop a more integrated service delivery system.”

For more information about MCMHC, visit mcmentalhealth.org. To learn more about the Maine Co-Occurring State Integration Initiative, visit maine.gov/dhhs/cosii/index.shtml.