Peer Support Groups for Current Clients
We offer a variety of peer support groups which are open to all current Maine Behavioral Healthcare clients. Peer groups are run by peers, for peers, without clinical oversight or reporting. Services include case management, med management, individual therapy or DBT, residential services and more. Ask your behavioral health provider for a list of groups at your service location.
Peer Support Centers for Adult Community Members
Our peer support centers provide a welcoming environment for anyone age 18 and over who is seeking to build community and foster a sense of belonging. We invite all adults who have ever struggled with significant challenges, past or present. This may include traumatic events, mental health concerns and/or substance use. Participation is voluntary and no insurance or referral is needed. Each center provides a living room, common area, meeting area and activity room. Schedules vary month-to-month, but community members can participate in a variety of groups including:
- Substance use
- Exploring different experiences of reality
- Peer support
All center staff are, or working toward becoming, Certified Intentional Peer Support Specialists. Learn more about this certification. The Intentional Peer Support model focuses on building mutually supportive relationships, where power is shared and social justice is promoted. Center staff have personally experienced challenges, similar to those they support, and can share insights and lessons they have learned from their own experiences. Centers offer community members an opportunity to connect with peers, talk about their lives, learn to advocate for their needs and ensure that everyone’s voice is heard and valued. Stop by one of our locations to learn more:
- Biddeford Peer Support Center: 15 York St. Unit 203, Biddeford, Maine – 207-358-4414
- Rockland Peer Support Center: 12 Union St. Rockland, Maine – 207-701-4417
- Sanford Peer Support Center: 19 Washington St. Sanford, Maine – 207-490-5253
More Peer Access Opportunities
Our CORE program in Brunswick includes a community Peer Support Specialist in a Peer Navigator position. The Peer Navigator provides outreach to individuals experiencing homelessness, food insecurity, or other vulnerable life circumstances, as well as those living with mental health challenges and/or substance use recovery. Support and assistance is offered through outreach and engagement by establishing relationships, infusing hope for a better future, and modeling wellness with a focus on recovery.
The Peer Navigator works in partnership with community agencies providing services for individuals in vulnerable circumstances, such as soup kitchens, homeless shelters, day shelters, etc. The Peer Navigator also:
- Conducts outreach
- Builds trusting relationships
- Offers shared experiences and education on:
- Local systems and networks
- Access to support groups
- Securing basic needs
- Recovery resources
One-on-one peer support is available to all members of our Behavioral Health Home (BHH) program.
What is a BHH?
A BHH is not a place where people live. The State of Maine changed the model for traditional case management to be more inclusive, or integrated, with physical health and “recovery” for MaineCare recipients. The BHH is a team approach to mental health and wellness that includes a case manager, nurse care manager and peer support specialist.
The BHH model, implemented under Section 92 of the MaineCare regulations, provides better care coordination and access to services that address both mental and physical health, as a whole person approach to wellness. The peer support specialist does not provide clinical assessment or traditional service provider functions within the team. They use the Intentional Peer Support model to build mutually supportive relationships that allow each person to grow and learn together.
The Peer Support Specialist also supports BHH members in self-advocacy in determining treatment and provider services and goals. The BHH program is for MaineCare members with “Serious Emotional Disorders (SED), and Serious and Persistent Mental Illness (SPMI), with the goal of integrating and coordinating treatment toward improved physical and behavioral health outcomes.”
Youth peer support is also being developed in partnership with THRIVE/Youth M.O.V.E. Maine for youth clients of the BHH in Portland, ages 14-26. MBH hopes to replicate this partnership for all MBH BHH programs in Maine.
The service is available at the following locations:
Create Beautiful Artwork while Building Self-Confidence
The Life Enrichment Art Program offers a variety of art groups for York County residents and current clients of Maine Behavioral Healthcare who are interested in improving their physical, spiritual and emotional wellness through creative experiences.
Classes include watercolor painting, polymer clay design, painting, decorating personal journals, driftwood and shell wind chimes, inspirational painted wooden plaques, painted terracotta planters and designing and personalizing handmade cards.
The program focuses on building mutual respect and compassion for all who choose to participate. Participants report that the opportunity to be creative and interact with others has enriched their lives and fostered friendships which continue outside the class. Classes are held weekly at the following locations:
- Wednesdays 9:30am-12pm: Sherry Sabo Center (Biddeford)
- Fridays 1:30pm- 4pm: Main Street (Springvale)
Greeting cards made by participants in the Life Enrichment Art Program brightened the day for young patients admitted to Southern Maine Health Care.
Southern Maine Health Care’s hospital in Biddeford has developed a program that allows certified intentional peer support specialists to provide support in the Mental Health Unit and Emergency Department on a volunteer basis. Peer support specialists also provide transitional support to patients after discharge. They help connect patients to recovery and/or wellness resources in the community.