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SACO, Maine —Sweetser's Saco clinic is one of five that will stop offering mental health therapy to clients by mid-December. Now close to 500 people will need to look for services elsewhere.
In addition to Saco's, clinics in York, Sanford, Brunswick and Lewiston will discontinue therapy next month.
Sweetser says reimbursement rates for therapy services aren't balancing out the cost of offering it at the clinics.
Mental health advocates say funding is an ongoing concern statewide.
"We would argue that there needs to be appropriate reimbursement rates for quality, evidence-based mental health care," said Mae L'Heureux from the National Alliance on Mental Illness Maine.
WMTW News 8's Tyler Cadorette spoke with personnel at NAMI Maine today. They worry that this will put more of a pinch on an already strained system.
"Maine is a state that's very rural, and resources are slim, so we have a huge shortage of mental health providers in the state of Maine," said L'Heureux.
Sweetser estimates that 450 clients will need to be transferred to other local providers for their therapy services.
"Starting over can be really overwhelming for folks," said L'Heureux
The nonprofit is looking to move impacted employees to other roles within the organization, while the clinics involved will continue to provide other mental health services.
Sweetster made it clear in a press release issued Thursday afternoon that it has no plans to close any clinics going forward.