AUGUSTA – Representatives from Dorothea Dix Psychiatric Center spoke with the Health and Human Services Committee about a new unit on Friday.
“This is going to be a geropsychiatric unit,” said Dorothea Dix Superintendent Sarah Taylor. “We’re taking older adults with a severe, persistent mental illness.”
Taylor said this new building will be on one floor with ADA compliant, single rooms.
She said she believes this will help the needs of the state’s older adults, which is a large part of the population in Maine.
“Independent of an illness we have, a mental illness we might have, we’re all people. We basically think the same,” said Daniel Potenza, clinical director at Dorothea Dix.
“The whole idea is that treatment is to bring forth control of certain symptoms that may make you look a little different but actually in essence reveal that we’re the same once things are controlled,” he said.
Taylor and Potenza updated the committee on what they would like to see done.
They said they are facing certain challenges right now, including staffing, facilities in the old building and the lack of options for the safe discharge of patients.
The new unit will allow more opportunities, Taylor said. She said there will be space to accommodate the special care unit and additional staff training to break the mental health stigma and much more.
“We are able to give the right amount of treatment for the right period of time and bringing people back to where they need to be out in their world, out in their houses, out in their jobs, with their families,” Potenza said.