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MaineGeneral Medical Center (MGMC) has received a five-year, $2 million grant from the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to support efforts that address youth trauma.

“This National Childhood Traumatic Stress Initiative Grant enables MaineGeneral’s Edmund N. Ervin Pediatric Center to build on existing community and medical staff partnerships to improve the capacity of mental health providers in central Maine to provide evidence-based trauma services to children,” said Chuck Hays, president & CEO of MaineGeneral Health.

The Central Maine Youth Trauma Initiative, fully funded by the federal grant, will enable the Pediatric Center to:

· Provide training for up to 100 providers in well-researched, effective therapies for children who have experienced trauma or are in high-risk situations;

· Provide education and support to foster parents in caring for children who have experienced trauma; and

· Create a Trauma 101 curriculum that will be provided at no cost to organizations that serve children who have experienced trauma, such as schools.

The need for a robust effort to address trauma comes in the wake of Maine’s high rates of opiate addiction and increased risks to children from rising rates of poverty, parental unemployment and the loss of social supports during COVID-19.

“Expanding evidence-based treatment and training will bring much-needed help to countless Central Maine youth,” said Dr. Stephen Meister, medical director of MaineGeneral’s Edmund N. Ervin Pediatric Center. “We know the need for these services is great. In 2019, Maine experienced a 42 percent increase in children coming into state custody, and all these children have experienced trauma. It’s essential that we strengthen our capacity to support these young people.”