The Star-Herald

AMHC receives 2020 Caring About Lives in Maine Award

CARIBOU, Maine — Aroostook Mental Health Services Inc. has announced that the AMHC Zero Suicide Leadership Team was selected for the 2020 Caring About Lives in Maine Award. 

Presented by the Maine Suicide Prevention Program (MSPP) and its Advisory Council, the award recognizes individuals and organizations promoting suicide prevention through education, stigma reduction, active intervention, and/or ongoing support of suicide survivors.

  “At AMHC we believe that one suicide is one too many and we take the public health issue of suicide very seriously,” said Michelle Ferris, AMHC program director of emergency services. 

“Thanks to the Zero Suicide initiative, we have been able to advance our practices of screening, assessment, intervention, follow up, and community education and collaboration,” Ferris said.

  Highlights include training all clinical staff in current best practices, enhancing AMHC’s electronic service record to capture more data related to suicidality, and reducing the stigma related to suicidality and help-seeking behavior. Thanks to organizations like the United Way of Aroostook, AMHC has also increased its capacity to offer more community based trainings on this topic. 

  Sheila Nelson, MPH, MSW and program manager for the Maine Department of Health and Human Services’ Maine Center for Disease Control, nominated AMHC for the award. The MSPP, led by the Maine CDC Adolescent Health and Injury Prevention Program, is committed to excellence in suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention. 

“We recognize that vibrant community partnerships are essential to preventing suicide, promoting resiliency, and supporting recovery and well-being,” said Nelson. “We thank AMHC for your hard work and are looking forward to recognizing your efforts on behalf of Mainers in your community.”

  The award was presented Oct. 1 at the annual Beyond the Basics in Suicide Prevention conference, which was held virtually this year. For more information on “Zero Suicide,” please visit www.zerosuicide.com.

  Celebrating more than 55 years, AMHC is a nonprofit organization supporting nearly 6,000 clients annually. The agency has 26 service sites and 325 employees located across Aroostook, Washington, and Hancock counties providing mental health, substance use, crisis and sexual assault services. 

For more information, connect with AMHC at www.amhc.org.

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