Nonprofit behavioral health care provider Sweetser has earned a $4 million grant to expand its Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic in Brunswick, the organization announced Thursday.

“More Midcoast Mainers will be able to access the timely help and support they need in their recovery journey because of this grant,” said Danielle Parent, senior director of Sweetser’s CCBHC program. “We’ve seen this model in other states be an effective tool in creating networks of support, treatment and hope, and Sweetser will continue leading the effort here in Maine.”

Sweetser provides an array of mental health and substance use services at nine locations around the state. The organization opened its Brunswick CCBHC in 2021 after receiving a separate $2.9 million grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Since its opening in 2021, the branch has served more than 400 clients from Sagadahoc, Cumberland, Lincoln and Androscoggin counties, according to Thursday’s press release. The new award will allow Sweetser to expand its capacity and reach a greater number of Mainers, following a larger nationwide trend toward the CCBHC model of care.

Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics aim to expand access to mental health and substance use services by quickly treating anyone who requests care, regardless of diagnosis or insurance status, according to the National Council for Mental Wellbeing. They must provide 24/7 crisis services and medication-assisted treatment.

As opioid deaths nationwide have continued to rise, more Americans are seeking help from the growing number of Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics around the country. According to the National Council for Mental Wellbeing’s 2022 CCBHC Impact Report, more than 500 clinics served an estimated 2.1 million patients last year, up 40% from 2021.

“We have to meet folks where they are at,” said Joey Rossignol, clinical director of Brunswick’s CCBHC. “Every single day we see the need for this type of program to be expanded to more communities. The need is great, and the need is there.”

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