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Senators Collins, King Announce $800,000 to Support Refugee Mental Health Services in Maine

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King announced that Spurwink has received $800,000 to support their ShifaME Trauma Systems Therapy for refugees. The funding was allocated through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Center for Mental Health Services.  This federal funding will help to expand the trauma therapy capabilities of ShifaME, Spurwink’s refugee service provider.  The organization currently offers case management and counseling services to refugees across the state.


“No community is immune from mental health crises, but refugees who fled violence, disasters, or persecution in their home countries often experience unique traumas in addition to the challenges of adjusting to a new life in the United States,” said Senators Collins and King in a joint statement. “Spurwink provides vital support to Maine’s refugee population, and this funding will help the dedicated staff expand access to mental health services for youth and families.”


“Spurwink is grateful for the ongoing commitment of Senators Collins and King, and SAMHSA, to support our critical work with refugees in Portland,” said Eric Meyer, President & CEO of Spurwink.  “Refugees contribute to a thriving economy in Maine and add a richness to our community, and our team is committed to working with them on a path to better health.” 


The Spurwink Refugee Mental Health Project is a multi-tiered mental health promotion model used to improve access to trauma-informed mental health services for refugee children and adolescents in Maine.  The project is based on work with the Refugee Trauma and Resiliency Center at Boston Children’s Hospital and multiple partners in Maine including schools, community providers and immigrant and refugee-led organizations.  The initiative includes broad-based prevention and community resilience building, community-based skill-building groups for youth, and intensive home-based family therapy for those with significant mental health needs.


Spurwink’s project will increase access to effective trauma-focused services for participants by improving community awareness of the trauma-related needs of refugee youth and increasing acceptance of mental health services among refugee families.


As a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, in fiscal year 2022, Senator Collins helped secure a $394 million increase to expand mental health research, treatment, and prevention programs.