A central Maine mental health provider plans to expand its services at five clinics in the region thanks to $750,000 in federal funding included in a congressional spending package passed this weekend.

Kennebec Behavioral Health, or KBH, is expected to use the funds to support the slate of mental health services offered at its Comprehensive Community Behavioral Health Clinics in Augusta, Farmington, Skowhegan, Waterville and Winthrop.

The grant is expected to help change how patients pay for services at the agency’s clinics, according to Tina Chapman, senior engagement officer for KBH.

“It moves it from looking at a payment perspective to a client-focused perspective,” Chapman said in an interview. “It’s more of a holistic approach, so it’s based on the person’s need, rather than who happens to be paying for the service.”

KBH, which also offers a variety of other mental health services and programs, has been developing its community clinic model since receiving a grant from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Heath Services Administration in 2021, Chapman said.

The clinics serve 6,000 to 7,000 people in central Maine each year, with many receiving more than one service, Chapman said. Many people come from vulnerable populations, including veterans, LGBTQ youth and adults, released inmates and those with housing instability.


Mental and behavioral health services at the clinics include 24/7 crisis care, substance use disorder treatment and case management, among others.

The recent funding comes from congressionally directed spending, or CDS, appropriations sponsored by U.S Sen. Angus King, an independent from Maine.

The grant was part of a $1.2 trillion package of spending bills signed Saturday by President Joe Biden, just hours after the Senate passed it in an early morning vote.

“This is a big deal,” King said Friday in a telephone call from Washington, ahead of the Senate vote. “I can tell you, from meeting with people in Maine over the course of every day practically, the need for expanded mental health services is at a very high level. Certainly coming out of the (COVID-19) pandemic, but more generally. Young people, adults, people with substance use disorder and trauma.”

King said he has made funding mental health resources a priority and he hopes to continue addressing the issue at the federal level.

“What Kennebec Behavioral Health is doing could be a model,” King said. “I think this could be a great model for the state.”

Chapman said surveys conducted six months after patients enroll at KBH clinics show positive impacts.

Since December 2022, the agency has surveyed 1,185 people, many of whom have reported improvements in response to questions about their mental health, their functioning in everyday life and their overall well-being, according to Chapman.

“It’s a really smart investment for the state of Maine and for Sen. King’s office,” Chapman said, “because we can show that it makes a significant difference in the lives of the people that we’re serving.”

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