FARMINGTON — Evergreen Behavioral Services has launched a consumer council to gain clients’ perspectives of the delivery of mental health care in order to improve access, treatment and safety of individuals served by the mental health system.

Jennifer Chretien, EBS board member and chair of the council, is seeking consumers of mental health services and family members and friends of those affected by mental illness to serve on the council that will focus on improving mental health services.

The council meets on the last Tuesday of every month from 3 to 4:30 p.m. in the Education Center at the University of Maine at Farmington, Room 114. Crystal Harting, an EBS crisis counselor, facilitates the group.

According to Chretien, the council started in January and its initial focus was on educating providers of mental health services, such as the university’s counseling service, SAVES, and Care and Comfort. “Now we are at a point where we are seeking consumers’ input on ways to maintain personal mental health and how mental health service delivery can be improved,” she said.

Chretien herself is no stranger to mental health services having suffered from depression for more than 13 years. “The key to my recovery is to know my symptoms and have the skills to manage them and get support from others. Medication management and a good therapist are essential for me. The road has been rough at times, but I’ve come a long way.”

Besides improving mental health services, the council also wants to educate the community about available mental health services and provide a support system for those affected by mental health conditions. Anyone interested in becoming a member should call Crystal Harting at 779-2845.

Evergreen Behavioral Services provides 24/7 emergency mental health response and community outreach services in Greater Franklin County. Its crisis team helps both children and adults stabilize a crisis by tailoring interventions to the person’s unique needs, strengths and situation. Services can be accessed by calling 779-2843.


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