Maine DHHS Recognizes May as Mental Health Awareness Month

AUGUSTA— The Maine Department of Health and Human Services’ (DHHS) Office of Behavioral Health (OBH) is recognizing May as Mental Health Awareness Month, a time to promote the importance of mental health, reduce stigma, and spotlight resources for support.

Governor Janet Mills has again proclaimed May as Mental Health Awareness Month. She recently filmed public service announcements as part of OBH’s StrengthenME campaign highlighting the importance of personal connections and reminding Maine people that when times are tough, they don’t have to go it alone.

“It can be hard to talk about mental health or reach out for support, but help is here when you need it,” said OBH Director Sarah Squirrell. “Mental health issues and stress can affect anyone, and the good news is services and support are available. If you or someone you love is struggling, make the connection to get help today.”

This Mental Health Awareness Month, Maine DHHS encourages people to:

  • Learn how to recognize the signs and symptoms of chronic stress and mental health issues, both in yourself and others. Just like with physical illness, treating mental health problems early may help to prevent a more serious illness from developing in the future. If you’re a parent, try a mental health screen for yourself or your child, and learn what parents can do.
  • Be informed about mental health to help reduce stigma and create a more supportive and inclusive environment for those who may be struggling.
  • Build your coping toolbox, equipping yourself to handle stress, complex feelings, and tough circumstances.
  • Champion mental health awareness, advocating for yourself, your loved ones, and your community.

As part of Mental Health Awareness Month, the Portland Sea Dogs are dedicating tonight’s baseball game to “striking out” mental health stigma. Game time is scheduled for 6 p.m., and OBH Director Squirrell and Governor Mills' Director of Opioid Response, Gordon Smith, will throw out the honorary first pitch.

If You Need Mental Health Help

  • Call 988 or Text/Call 1-888-568-1112: Call or text 988 to reach the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. The 988 Lifeline responds 24 hours a day, seven days a week to calls, chats or texts from anyone who needs support for suicidal, mental health, and/or substance use crisis, and connects those in need with trained crisis counselors. Individuals can also dial 988 if they are worried about a loved one who may need crisis support.
  • NAMI Maine’s Teen Text Support Line: This free, confidential resource for youth aged 13-23 is available Monday-Friday, 2pm-10pm, Saturday and Sunday 12pm-10pm. The line is staffed by trained support specialists- aged 18-24. Text (207) 515-8398.
  • OPTIONS: Maine residents facing opioid use challenges can connect with a local liaison through OPTIONS (Overdose Prevention Through Intensive Outreach, Naloxone and Safety), which sends mobile response teams to connect people directly to recovery services and treatment and distribute naloxone, the lifesaving overdose medication.
  • StrengthenME: StrengthenME is an initiative that celebrates and supports resilience. Residents who are not experiencing a mental health crisis but would like stress management resources to promote health and wellbeing can choose from a variety of supports. Services are easy to access, anonymous, and community focused. Learn more and take a wellness check-in.
    • Frontline & Educator Resources: Click here for one-on-one, group, and training support resources for health care workers, educators, and first responders.
    • Lewiston Tragedy Recovery Resources: The Maine Resiliency Center is open to support individuals impacted by the events in Lewiston, with ongoing support groups and other events.
  • Help Me Grow : This free information and referral service that connects pregnant parents and families with children through the age of eight to information and resources on early screening and intervention, which can address mental and behavioral health issues in young children to help get them on track for a healthy future. The Help Me Grow team will listen, link parents, providers, and community partners to services, and provide ongoing support when needed.

211 Maine: If you or someone you know needs other support and you don’t know who to call, reach out to 211. 211 Maine is a free, confidential information and referral service that connects people of all ages across Maine to local resources for mental health, financial support, health care, and more. 211 Maine is based in Maine and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.