ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Eric Meyer is president of the board for the Alliance for Addiction and Mental Health Services and president and CEO of Spurwink Services
Malory Shaughnessy is executive director of the Alliance for Addiction and Mental Health Services
The Alliance is a statewide membership association for community-based behavioral health organizations.
We are in the midst of a trifecta – the COVID epidemic, a rapid economic collapse based on this epidemic, and a powerful movement for racial justice. Even before COVID-19, lack of access to timely, high-quality treatment was the greatest barrier to a healthier America.
In this growing crisis, the services provided by Maine’s community-based mental health and substance use treatment providers are being severely impacted – both in the ability to deliver outpatient and residential services and the dramatically increasing needs of Mainers as they endure this pandemic. Many programs were already operating with deficits due to inadequate rates, and the pandemic reduced revenues further while adding new expenses. The economic collapse has also had a severely negative impact on their workforce – one that was stretched to the limit before any of these crises hit.
And then COVID-19 hit us all in March – and cases and death counts continue to rise across our country.