Volunteers of America Northern New England has received $20,000 from the John T. Gorman Foundation to help bring additional mental health services to residents of the Maine Coastal Regional Reentry Center in Belfast, which is operated by the Waldo County Sheriff's Office and Volunteers of America.

Volunteers of America is partnering with Maine Behavioral Healthcare to implement a “Counseling for All” program, which will give residents of the reentry center the opportunity to receive mental health counseling in addition to other intervention services.

In a 2006 study, the Bureau of Justice estimates that more than half of all jail and prison inmates have mental illness issues, while the public mental health system provides services to only 33 percent of adults who live with serious mental illnesses in Maine.

The Reentry Center prepares each resident for successful reintegration into their community by looking at the whole person and helping him take positive steps towards change.

Interventions include substance abuse counseling, access to education, job skills and employment assistance, family reunification, and mentoring in partnership with the Restorative Justice Project.

However, for many individuals, mental health counseling must accompany all the efforts being made to promote stabilization. People who have been convicted of criminal offenses can often be influenced by unresolved trauma in their lives.

The “Counseling for All” program will help Reentry residents use the new skills they have learned and reinforce the changes they have made in their lives.

For more than 115 years, Volunteers of America has been helping individuals rebuild their lives. They strive to end homelessness, restore hope and build communities for children and young adults, veterans, seniors, adults living with mental illness, and adults involved in the criminal justice system

The Reentry Center in Belfast, operated by Waldo County Sheriff’s Office and Volunteers of America since 2009, has helped more than 150 men make a successful transition from prisons and jails back into their communities.