In a recent news release, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services emphasized the availability of mental health resources, including through the StrengthenME initiative and traditional crisis support, in light of the demands of the holiday season, which may lead to an increase in stress, depression and other behavioral health challenges.

Some of the signs that mental health may need attention and care include irritability, nervousness, changes?in appetite, fatigue and difficulty sleeping or concentrating. More serious signs may include a sense of hopelessness, withdrawing from loved ones, substance misuse, self-harm, and feelings, thoughts or actions of suicide.

StrengthenME provides free tools, support and community connections that can help people develop coping strategies and self-care practices before emotional challenges escalate into more serious mental health problems. The confidential, anonymous service can be reached by phoning 221-8198, seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. The service will also connect callers who are health care workers, first responders and school staff to the FrontLine WarmLine, a dedicated phone support service for these groups.

Those who are feeling overwhelmed by depression or anxiety may call or text the Statewide Crisis Line at (888) 568-1112, seven days a week, 24 hours a day. The free, confidential line is staffed by trained crisis clinicians who can connect callers to the closest crisis center.

Maine DHHS has also launched the Overdose Prevention Through Intensive Outreach, Naloxone and Safety initiative to combat the rise in fatal drug overdoses exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. OPTIONS mobile response teams in every Maine county engage with communities that have high rates of drug overdoses to promote drug prevention and harm-reduction strategies, connect people directly to recovery services and treatment and distribute naloxone, the lifesaving overdose medication.

Access to behavioral health resources is also available through Maine’s 211 service by dialing 211, texting one’s ZIP code to 898-211, emailing info@211maine.org or visiting 211maine.org.