Last week, Jamie Dorr, Board President for the Bath Youth Meetinghouse & Skatepark, accepted the 2017 Spirit of America Award presented by Sagadahoc County. Dorr was recognized for her “untiring, infectious energy,” through her role in founding the Midcoast Community Alliance. Over the past 18 months, the Midcoast Community Alliance has emerged as a strong network of 34 different organizations in the greater Bath/Brunswick area working together to reduce mental health stigma, encourage support and eliminate suicide.
This is the sixth honor received by the Midcoast Community Alliance in 2017. Other recognition includes the Bath Area Family YMCA’s Volunteer of the Year Award, United Way of Mid Coast Maine’s Community Builder Award, and the Caring About Lives Award presented by the Maine CDC and the Department of Health & Human Services. In addition, Dorr was named Bath’s Citizen of the Year in October and was listed in November as one of “10 Mainers We Are Thankful For” by the Portland Press Herald.
“The response to our work has been overwhelming,” says Dorr. “Not only by our community and its leaders but by the families who are facing mental health challenges every day.” Dorr notes that she is continually contacted by students, parents, and community members who bravely share their stories and ask for help.
While 2017 has been a year of establishing itself as a resource and a network of support in the Midcoast region, Dorr hopes to see further success in the new year. “Education and outreach will be our top priorities – for students, our families, and the community at-large. We also aim to take a closer look at early intervention and how we can better connect families with the help they need before a young person is in crisis.”
Over the past year, Midcoast Community Alliance has also held several community events, from A Call to Action for Suicide Prevention, hosted by Bath Police Chief Mike Field & NAMI Maine, to events on Adverse Childhood Experiences, and inspiring YOU MATTER events at Morse High School and Bath Middle School. Future plans for The Alliance include “Set for Success”, an outreach event that will provide free backpacks and teacher-required school supplies to every student PreK-8 in RSU1, regardless of need.
In 2015, 1 in 5 high school students in Sagadahoc County had seriously considered suicide in the past year, according to the Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control show that Maine’s suicide rate is trending upwards, as it is across the nation.
“This is a public health issue that affects every one of us. It will take every one of us coming together to change the tide,” Dorr states.
To get involved or to make a tax-deductible contribution to this vital suicide prevention work, please visit www.mcamaine.org.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, Dial 1-888-568-1112, the Maine Statewide Crisis Line or text HOME to 741-741.