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Portland Press Herald: Mental health crisis center in Portland could serve as model for state network

By February 23, 2024March 4th, 2024News

This story was published by Portland Press Herald. View the story online through the link below or read a snippet copied from the article, below.

Mental health crisis center in Portland could serve as model for state network

Brandon Klym started using marijuana as a teenager when several people close to him died within a short period of time and he struggled to process the emotions.

Soon he was hanging out with friends who introduced him to other drugs and alcohol, starting a cycle of addiction, rehabilitation and relapse. He remembers being taken to a hospital and being too frightened to accept help.

“Even though I was having these negative thoughts and negative emotions, I said what I needed to say to be able to leave,” Klym said.

Klym would later get the help he needed and he now uses his experiences to help others at Spurwink’s Cumberland County Crisis Receiving Center, also known as the Living Room. The first-of-its-kind center provides a 24-hour alternative to the emergency room or jail for people who are going through a mental health crisis.

The state is looking to replicate the center in other communities after the mass shooting in Lewiston in October highlighted the need for more access to mental health care. Gov. Janet Mills unveiled legislation Wednesday that includes opening a new center in Lewiston as a step toward a statewide network based on the Portland model.

“We know these centers work,” Mills said during her State of the State address last month.