March 4, 2020

In This Issue
No on 1 Success!
Doctor Uses Reach of Social Media to Ease COVID-19 Pandemic Fears
Maine's Weekly Influenza Report
Maine DHHS Announces that Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services will be Renamed to Office of Behavioral Health
2020 Census
H. Alan Hume, M. D., 93
Next MMA Legislative Call Will Be Tuesday, March 10th
State House Highlights of the Week
Upcoming Specialty Society Meetings
Register now for Revealing a Path Forward: Maine's Annual Conference on Problem Gambling - March 27th, 2020
10th Annual Maine Patient Safety Academy - March 30, 2020
Targeted Basic Skills Training: Addressing Nicotine and Tobacco Use through Prevention, Policy and Treatment Initiatives - March 31, 2020
Maine Suicide Prevention Program Training for Clinicians
April 10th in Augusta: Building Hope Across Populations-Beyond the Basics in Suicide Prevention 2020
Family Medicine Outpatient Physician
Medical Director, Primary Care Physician
Physician - Nasson Health Care
Nurse Practitioner - Nasson Health Care
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner - Nasson Health Care
Family Medicine Opportunity in Beautiful Western Maine
Orthopedic Surgeon Opportunity in Beautiful New England
Opportunities at the VA for Volunteer Physicians
Volunteer Opportunity with Partners for World Health - Portland, ME

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Maine DHHS Announces that Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services will be Renamed to Office of Behavioral Health

[From Maine DHHS 03/03/20]



Maine DHHS Announces that Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services will be Renamed to Office of Behavioral Health

AUGUSTA— The Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) announced today that the Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services will be renamed to the Office of Behavioral Health.

The name change reflects an evolving understanding of the underlying causes of substance use disorders (SUD) and recognizes that individuals facing SUD often require and benefit from mental health services. The term “behavioral health” captures this, encompassing a continuum of services ranging from prevention, early intervention, treatment, and crisis care to recovery. It also moves away from the more stigmatizing term “substance abuse,” which fails to adequately convey SUD as a medical condition. 

The name change will roll out informally this week, through updates to the DHHS website, building signage and other materials. DHHS will work with the Legislature, Secretary of State, and others to formally update contracts, statute, and regulations as needed, with a likely effective date of July 1, 2020.

The Office of Behavioral Health will continue to operate as an Office within DHHS, with no change to the existing organizational structure.

“This new name captures our approach to substance use and mental health disorders,” said DHHS Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew. “They are medical conditions and often intertwined, requiring an integrated system of services to support the health of Maine people facing these challenges.”

“The standard classification tool, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, dropped the term ‘substance abuse’ years ago, now defining substance use as a set of cognitive, behavioral, and physiological symptoms that occurs on a spectrum,” said Jessica Pollard, Director of the Office of Behavioral Health. “This new name moves away from imprecise and stigmatizing language and better encompasses our mission to advance behavioral health and wellness for Maine people.”

“This is more than simply a name change,” said Maine Opioid Response Director Gordon Smith. “It is an important statement attacking the stigma and prejudice that has negatively impacted persons with substance use disorders by categorizing this chronic illness as separate from other chronic illnesses. I heartily endorse this change.”

The Office of Behavioral Health oversees a behavioral health continuum of care that serves the whole person and the whole community. Its role is to support Maine people with mental health, substance use, and co-occurring disorders in living not only symptom-free, but with dignity, hope, and meaning. The Office partners with providers, communities, and individuals to offer support, resources, education, training, technical assistance, and services. 


Jackie Farwell, Maine Department of Health and Human Services



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