Maine DHHS Supports Recovery and Resiliency in Response to Lewiston Tragedy

April 25, 2024

Today marks six months since the tragedy in Lewiston on the evening of October 25, 2023. Since last October, Maine people, businesses, communities, and state government have come together to honor and remember those who died, and to begin walking the road to recovery. Tonight, the Maine Resiliency Center in Lewiston is holding a commemoration event at the Simard-Payne Memorial Park. Participants will gather at 6:30 p.m. for a ceremony in memory of those lost and in honor of all those affected by the shootings. The Center is also asking the community to light candles or lights in their windows tonight.

This is just one example of Maine people coming together to build the foundation for resiliency and recovery.

The Maine Department of Health and Human Services has worked with municipalities, hospitals, schools, and service partners to address behavioral health needs in the aftermath of the tragedy. It remains committed to doing so in the months and years to come. This takes many forms.

On Monday, Governor Janet Mills signed the supplemental budget passed by the Legislature which includes significant investments supporting resiliency and recovery in Lewiston and across Maine. Those investments funded through the Department are summarized here. The budget includes one-time funds for a crisis receiving center in Lewiston, post-traumatic wellness services for first responders, community-based behavioral health services, and filling in the behavioral health service continuum.

Additionally, the Department was awarded a federal grant in March 2024 to support meeting the evolving needs of individuals in Lewiston and surrounding communities. It will fund a trauma-informed learning community that will contribute to a ready and resilient workforce and help build a communications campaign to promote mental well-being and access to services. Additional supports are available for the Deaf and hard-of-hearing as well as New Mainer communities.

Maine DHHS continues to work in close partnership with the Office of the Attorney General and Community Concepts Inc., which operates the Maine Resiliency Center, to coordinate available resources and efforts. The Maine Resiliency Center serves anyone across the state impacted by the events, with support groups and other programming based on age and nature of involvement. More information about the Center can be found here.

Finally, we want Maine people affected by the Lewiston tragedy to know that they don’t have to go it alone. StrengthenME is a resource for stress management and resiliency that brings together information on how to access services, via phone, text, or through community connection. The path to recovery may take time, and the loss may never fully heal, but connecting to others and to resources is important for well-being. As Governor Mills said in a recent StrengthenME message, if you or a loved one needs help, reach out, because “when times are tough, you don’t need to go it alone.”