WATERVILLE – The building that housed the Waterville Peer Recovery Center is up for sale and virtual programming for those struggling with mental health or addiction issues will end next week, according to Linda Schreiber, acting executive director of the National Alliance. on Mental Illness Maine .
The center has seen a decline in uptake of its services since before the COVID-19 pandemic, which then drove even more people into self-isolation. The cost of staffing and maintaining the building at 32 Ticonic St. is no longer financially viable, leading NAMI Maine’s board of directors to vote to sell the building last month, said Schreiber this week.
“We’re always looking at ‘Are we the best stewards of the resources we have and how many people are we impacting with the dollars we invest?’ said Schreiber.
Peer Recovery Center staff are working with a “handful” of people to transition to other resources in the area, such as the LINC Wellness and Recovery Center in Augusta, Schreiber said.
“I think the transition will be smooth because CLIC offers similar programs and has a great program in place,” she said.
Schreiber said two or three people attend specialized or discussion-style support groups, and three to five people have attended community meetings. Meetings have largely been held on Zoom since the pandemic began in 2020.
“It’s a tough thing to lose a place like this that was so important at times when they struggled in life,” she said.
The numbers are down from about 60 members when the Peer Recovery Center opened in April 2018. The building previously housed the Waterville Social Club, which helped adults with mental illness and expanded its services and support groups. support after being taken over. by NAMI Maine.
Schreiber pointed to mental health and recovery stigma as a reason people may avoid available support services. One of the center’s main goals has been to reduce that stigma, Schreiber said.
The transition to Zoom has proven to have unexpected benefits in expanding access to services and also in training educators, law enforcement and others.
“It’s really opened up access for a lot of Mainers who live in remote communities,” Schreiber said.
She also noted that LINC provides many support groups and services through Zoom, which will hopefully make the transition easier for those in the Peer Recovery Center.
Schreiber is optimistic about the future of the building at the corner of Ticonic and Edwards streets, saying there has been some interest from a group that provides similar services.
“Our greatest hope is that another agency or entity can come along and provide similar recovery services that the community needs,” Schreiber said.
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