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WGME 13: Portland’s ‘The Living Room’ offers accessible, immediate mental health crisis support

By February 29, 2024March 4th, 2024News

This story was published by WGME 13. View the story online through the link below or read a snippet copied from the article, below.

PORTLAND (WGME)- If you’re going through a mental health crisis and need help from professionals, going to a psychiatric unit at a hospital may not be the quickest option, or it may be too intimidating.

That’s why a center in Portland called “The Living Room” is offering mental health help in a different way.

“It’s a lot more comfortable than say, walking into an emergency department of a psychiatric hospital,” psychiatric nurse Samantha Reny said. “People notice that it’s more comfortable, it’s a warmer environment.”

Twenty-four hours a day and seven days a week, anyone experiencing a mental health crisis can walk right into the center at Spurwink at 62 Elm Street.

Reny says for some, it’s a more comfortable option than going to a hospital.

There’s couches and chairs, showers and mental health professionals there to give support.

“People are comfortable and that enables them to be able to share more,” Reny said.

Other facilities sometimes have a waiting list, but here, you can get in right away.

Program Director Megan DuEst says many people they meet are experiencing homelessness and often face hurdles when trying to go to different centers.

“A barrier to that population in the past is if you don’t have a cell phone, if you don’t have a physical address, there’s not a lot of follow up that can be done,” DuEst said.