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State’s Second Low-Barrier Clinic in Sanford 

Sweetser President and CEO Jayne Van Bramer is flanked by Justin Chenette, director of public relations and advancement, and Senior Director of Community Services Wendy Anders,

Sweetser President and CEO Jayne Van Bramer is flanked by Justin Chenette, director of public relations and advancement,and Senior Director of Community Services Wendy Anders,  

Photo: Lee Burnett 

Sweetser Opens the State’s Second Low-Barrier Clinic in Sanford 

Lee Burnett, submissions editor 

A new “low barrier” approach to providing mental health and substance abuse services opened in Sanford earlier this week. According to Sweetser, the statewide agency that opened the clinic at 863 Main St., the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic accepts walk-in clients without an appointment. It provides case management services free of charge, can respond to crises around the clock through a mobile unit and provides clinical services based on income. “This model is the way of the future. Services are being shifted,” explained Wendy Anders, the senior director of community-based services and program director for Sweetser. 

The program is funded through a $4 million federal grant. This is Sweetser’s second such clinic to open in the state. The first opened in Brunswick. If the clinics are as successful as projected, additional clinics could be opened. 

The new clinic should provide tools to people struggling with various addictions and crises to get on with their lives so they can hold jobs, pay rent and live stable lives. “We have seen the need, and the need is strong here,” said Sweetser’s President and CEO Jayne Van Bramer. 

Through its Options Program, which works with the Sanford Police Department’s mental health unit, Sweetser knows firsthand about Sanford’s growing population of people couch surfing and living in cars and tents. Sweetser has 70 people on its waiting list, according to Anders. 

Sweetser already provides services through schools and other settings. Through this clinic, the agency expects to serve 750 more clients in York County during the next four years. That’s in addition to the 4,500 clients a year they already see in York County. Five staff persons have already been hired and four more are coming on board. 

Walk-in hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays for same-day assessments. Otherwise, people are encouraged to call the Promise Line at 1-800-434-3000 or email info@sweetser.org to make an appointment. 

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