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A new study shows health disparities cost Texas billions of dollars; Senate rejects impeachment articles against Mayorkas, ending trial against Cabinet secretary; Iowa cuts historical rural school groups.

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The Senate dismisses the Mayorkas impeachment. Maryland Lawmakers fail to increase voting access. Texas Democrats call for better Black maternal health. And polling confirms strong support for access to reproductive care, including abortion.

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Rural Wyoming needs more vocational teachers to sustain its workforce pipeline, Ohio environmental advocates fear harm from a proposal to open 40-thousand forest acres to fracking and rural communities build bike trail systems to promote nature, boost the economy.

ME mental health care advocates push for services after Lewiston shooting

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Monday, February 5, 2024   

Advocates for mental-health care in Maine are applauding Gov. Janet Mills' push to increase access to services, following last year's deadly shooting in Lewiston.

Mills has proposed the establishment of a statewide network of crisis receiving centers so that any person can get prompt and appropriate care.

Hannah Longley, clinical director of advocacy and crisis interventions with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Maine, called them an amazing model that reduces stigma and saves money.

"It helps to divert from higher levels of care," said Longley, "so individuals are less likely to end up in an emergency room or criminal-justice system."

Longley said too often people in crisis end up in county jails where they remain until they've been stabilized.

The governor's proposal builds on the success of an individual crisis center in Portland and efforts to build a new center in Lewiston.

Maine is experiencing a shortage of mental-health care professionals, and state lawmakers have introduced several bills to improve their pay, remove barriers to licensure and reduce their student debt.

Longley said twenty years ago, Maine was the envy of the nation in terms of mental-health services and treatment.

She said without greater support for health-care professionals, it will be hard to earn that reputation back.

"Social work historically has been one of the lowest paid masters-level professions," said Longley, "that still has the same amount of educational debt, and so really trying to make that a viable workforce."

Longley said the Lewiston shooting has brought greater attention to the need for a continuing network of care across the state.

She noted that studies show people suffering from mental illness are far more likely to be the victims of violence than to commit violent acts.




Disclosure: NAMI Maine contributes to our fund for reporting on Mental Health, Social Justice, Youth Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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