Improving Behavioral Health Services

The Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) continues to work to improve prevention, the delivery of care in our communities, and treatment for those in crisis as well as those with persistent behavioral health challenges. Over the course of our work, DHHS will post updates to this page on efforts relating to the improvement of behavioral health services, including mental health and substance use disorder services, in the state.

News and Updates

Publications, Materials, and Presentations


  • Options Liaisons Expansion: Working with the Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the Attorney General will provide $3 million in settlement funds over two years to double the OPTIONS Program. This funding supports moving from a single liaison in every county to a team-based approach for co-responding with law enforcement to substance use-related calls. This program has been effective at engaging individuals after overdoses to connect them to treatment and building community connections. Hiring and recruitment of individuals will start in July of 2023.
  • Peer Outreach Harm Reduction Pilot: The Office of Behavioral Health (OBH) is implementing a two-year peer navigator pilot. The program includes seven  new community-based peer positions across the state. Peer navigators will support street and community-based outreach to high-risk populations providing harm reduction supplies, education and resources including naloxone, fentanyl test strips and safe use supplies. Peer navigators will also provide linkages to longer terms supports and services. The Program was implemented in April of 2023, with seven peer navigators successfully hired. There has been an immediate impact at the community level expanding access to harm reduction resources and supports.
  • Cumberland County Crisis Receiving Center: In partnership with Spurwink, the OBH has established the first crisis receiving center in Portland, Maine. The Cumberland County Crisis Receiving Center provides same day low barrier access to mental health and substance use services, crisis stabilization and access to peer supports in addition to referrals to other behavioral health services. The crisis receiving center model is a blended approach of best practices to crisis services identified as effective by SAMHSA. This crisis receiving center is a warm and welcoming, trauma-informed environment that provides access to high quality services without feeling overly institutional. The crisis receiving center has been operating since March of 2022, and on average services over 175 unique individuals per month. The crisis receiving center has been effective to divert individuals from the justice system, Emergency Rooms and inpatient hospitalization.