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Making a Difference through Empathy, Self-Care and Relatable Experiences

Rarely is a community so fortunate to encounter an individual who commands respect and admiration from their peers and clients alike – not with an iron fist, but with compassion, positivity and dedication to their job. Meet Sundaram “David” Stanly, LCSW. David embodies the mission of Maine Behavioral Healthcare by providing exceptional care as an outpatient clinician in our Biddeford clinic, contributing to his community and his organization through service and leadership. 

David Stanly, LCSW

Helping Clients From All Walks of Life

David describes himself as a “social worker at heart.” He joined MBH in 2012 as a case manager, transitioning to the role of clinician in 2014 providing home and community based treatment for children. Since 2016, David has served as an outpatient clinician, providing mental health counseling to a diverse roster of clients, from immigrants and substance use clients to couples and families. His goal is to improve overall wellbeing of clients from all walks of life through empathy and support.

“The best thing about my job is that I have the opportunity to serve my clientele by listening to their problems, validating their emotions, and supporting them through their challenges,” David said of his work.

Throughout the pandemic, David was noticeably dedicated to his work, traveling to his office each day and meeting safely with clients five days per week. “The number of people experiencing stress, anxiety, depression, substance use and other mental health issues are constantly growing every day, especially after the pandemic,” he says. “I love working with people, listening to their stories, and supporting them through their emotional, relational, and behavioral issues, as well as psychosocial stressors, substance use and mental health issues… I have the privilege of witnessing many life transformations.”

While it is clear that David’s impact is felt by each of his clients, one particular story comes to mind as displaying David’s ability to empathize while treating each individual. An immigrant himself, David specializes in working with this population, including an individual who recently immigrated to the United States from Iraq.

“This client struggled with severe post-traumatic stress disorder after losing a leg below his knee in a bomb blast, during which he witnessed many casualties,” David shared. “He struggled with intrusive thoughts, nightmares, flashbacks, and avoidance but has learned coping and symptom management skills as well reported achieving emotional and behavioral stability. Currently he is working in a grocery store and maintaining his life meaningfully.”

“We are so fortunate to have David with us,” said Catherine McAllister, program manager and David’s supervisor. “He is genuine, authentic, kind, and a perennial good-soul who brings his ‘A-game’ every day!”

Be the Change

As he continues to make a difference in the lives of his clients, David is also determined to maintain his own mental health, a practice often overlooked in this profession. He does so for wellbeing and to help provide healing for those who rely on him.

“I realize that performance-oriented work without moral values and professional ethics would lead to exhaustion and burnout. Having moral, ethical, and professional confidence is foundational in guiding the work I do. It can enhance our work with our clients who seek help and support during hard times. I cannot give what I do not have; therefore, in order to provide quality service to my clients, I must first maintain my own wellbeing and growth.”

David shared that one of his favorite quotes is Mahatma Gandhi’s, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” It is safe to say he is creating positive change in every life he touches. Thank you for bringing your light to our community, David!


Maine Behavioral Healthcare provides comprehensive behavioral health services to Maine residents of all ages. We are conveniently located at over 30 outpatient locations throughout southern, western and mid-coast Maine and also provide inpatient care at Spring Harbor Hospital in Westbrook.


Whether you need peer support, outpatient counseling services, intensive case management or psychiatric hospitalization, Maine Behavioral Healthcare can provide the type of care that's best for you, close to home.