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Maine Behavioral Healthcare’s Youth Peer Support Statewide Network to Open Portland Peer Support Center

December 06, 2021

Contact: Valerie Compagna, 207-699-7178, valerie.compagna@mainehealth.org

A grand opening of the Portland Peer Support Center will be held December 16 from Noon – 3 pm.

PORTLAND, MAINE – The Youth Peer Support Statewide Network (YPSSN), a program of Maine Behavioral Healthcare (MBH), plans to open a Peer Support Center on December 14, 2021. The Center will offer peer support groups, drop-in space, art groups, games, movie nights and various activities and events determined by the peer community.

“This will be a welcoming space where youth and young adults can come together to support one another,” said Randy Morrison, director of peer services at MBH. “They will have an opportunity to build a community among their peers as they navigate all of the challenges that come with being a young person today.”

The benefits of peer support services, such as those offered through the YPSSN, have become widely accepted as an effective means to support people with behavioral health and/or substance use concerns. Youth Peer Support Partners available at the new Center have experienced these types of challenges, so they can relate to clients on a personal level, unlike a therapist. Peer support can help improve resiliency, self-advocacy and confidence in a safe and supportive space.

“I am incredibly proud of the work that has gone into opening this new Center,” said Maria Hadjiyane, vice president of ambulatory services at MBH. “Given the isolation many are experiencing due to the pandemic, this space will offer a welcome respite to the young people of Portland.”

Asher Havlin serves as the YPSSN supervisor and is excited to have the Center available for peers to gather in Portland. “We have a shared experience navigating the behavioral health system, living with a diagnosis, or struggling with mental health challenges,” said Havlin. “We use that experience as a means to dream of a different future for ourselves and the behavioral health system. The Portland Peer Support Center is part of that dream.”

The new Center will be open throughout the week to offer a variety of activities, which can be found by visiting the Youth Peer Support Statewide Network webpage. Individuals seeking to utilize the space can also do so by reaching out to the Network at YPSSN@mainehealth.org or by calling 207-396-7052. There is no cost to participate in any network activity and no insurance is billed.

Members of the community are welcome to attend the grand opening on December 16 at 165 Lancaster Street, Portland from Noon – 3 pm. Masks and social distancing will be required.

Learn more about the Youth Peer Support Statewide Network online or connect with them on FaceBook at @YPSSNMaine.

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About Maine Behavioral Healthcare
Maine Behavioral Healthcare is a leading provider of mental health services, with over 30 outpatient locations throughout southern, western and mid-coast Maine, as well as Spring Harbor Hospital, providing an integrated continuum of comprehensive, coordinated behavioral healthcare for Maine residents of all ages. Learn more at MaineBehavioralHealthcare.org.


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