Millions of dollars over budget due to COVID-19, behavioral health care providers cut services, ask state for $35M in federal CARES Act funding
State-contracted providers warn Maine’s mental health system is already collapsing after they receive none of Maine’s $1.25B COVID-19 stimulus funding.
Karen Evans has been in and out of the mental health system since she was 17. Today she is 73. She can recall symptoms of her psychosis – hearing voices – back to when she was just a child.
At one point, those voices convinced her to light herself on fire, and she suffered severe burns over much of her body. As part of Maine’s behavioral health care system, Evans has been on and off anti-psychotic medications for decades and was at one point a patient at—and part of the state’s consent decree with—the former Augusta Mental Health Institute (AMHI).
“Mental health has not been a priority in Maine, except for the substance abuse arm of it,” she said. “But mental health itself does not get very much attention anymore and I think the mental health system is in trouble. I think it’s in big trouble.”