BRUNSWICK – About 170 people are about to lose their jobs. A group that helps people with mental health and developmental issues said it’s being forced to close its doors.
This is a copy of the letter sent to local and state officials that said Merrymeeting Behavioral Health Associates is permanently closing.
“I am very concerned about the loss of employment and the loss of care.” said the chair of Brunswick town council Sarah Brayman .
In the letter the provider said they were told Mainecare would no longer cover over 80 percent of the community-based services they provide. Officials decided they’d have to shut down and lay off about 170 people.
In a statement the Department of Health and Human Services said Merrymeeting is quote “triggering alarm prior to gathering all of the facts or seeking help from the department.” DHHS also said Merrymeeting has to work with them to make sure all their patients get care from other agencies.
People in this community have concerns.
One community member, Sarah Durkee stated, “There is mental illness in my family and so I know how much those services are needed especially here in Brunswick”.”
Ellia Manners, a licensed counselor added “It really hurts, it troubles me and it distresses me”.” Manners provides counseling services for women in Bridgton.
She said the change will be devastating for people who get help here because they wouldn’t need the program if they had what it would take to create more stability in their lives.
“They might have been working with their clients for years, and all of a sudden the person that they look up to is gone and that’s really sad.” added Ella.
According to this letter the last day for clinical employees will be April 8 and the last day for office staff will be April 22.