HALLOWELL – NAMI Maine, the state branch for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, has released its 2020 annual report to kick off Mental Health Awareness Month. The report reveals that the programs and supports for families and professionals continue to be of vital importance and have a lifesaving impact for people throughout the state.

“The staff at NAMI Maine does such incredible work for the 1 in 4 Mainers who are affected by mental illness,” said Amy Hodgdon, president of the NAMI Maine Board of Directors. “The annual report paints a picture of just how many services NAMI Maine offers, and how many Maine people count on those services to help strengthen their mental wellness. During a pandemic, these programs and services have become even more essential as we are finding more and more individuals facing unprecedented challenges.” 

The report covered NAMI Maine’s fiscal year, which was July 2019 to June 2020, so the data in the report represents the early months of the pandemic. Despite that, the report shows a significant uptick in outreach to NAMI Maine’s services once the pandemic began to take shape in Maine. NAMI Maine’s Helpline, a mental health resource and referral line, saw a 35 percent increase in calls. NAMI Maine’s Teen Text Line was established in April of 2020 to help combat the increased isolation, anxiety, stress, and uncertainty being faced by teens. In that time, more than 150 teens texted the line and more than 10,000 text messages were received or sent. Since the end of the fiscal year in June 2020, the Teen Text Line saw a 360 percent increase in total text volume when school came back in session through October. 

“There is no question that the pandemic has added to the pressure on our mental health,” said Hodgdon. “It is during the most difficult times when these services are needed the most. The staff and volunteers have stepped up and continued to provide invaluable resources.” 

Last year, even during the pandemic, over a thousand Mainers completed one of our many suicide prevention and mental health trainings. Of those trained, 510 people reported back to us that they helped someone experiencing a suicidal crisis or someone they identified at risk for suicide within six months following the training. This means that 510 people were helped through some of life’s darkest hours.   

“By reviewing the annual report, it gives you a snapshot of the services and programs that NAMI Maine has provided during this window of time,” said Hodgdon. “It’s incredible to see, especially considering that the pandemic had really just begun toward the end of our fiscal year. This team adapted, regrouped, and thought creatively about how to be there for the people who need this organization the most.” 

NAMI Maine’s staff covers the entire state, offering social and emotional support for all persons affected by mental illness, advocates for improved quality of services for all persons affected, provides resources about mental illness, and provides additional services, training, and connectivity for those affected by mental illness. 

Resources, program information, and contact details are available for anyone affected by mental illness at the NAMI Maine website, www.namimaine.org

The full annual report can also be viewed online at https://www.namimaine.org/annual-reports.