Phone Numbers: Statewide Crisis Services: 1-888-568-1112, Mobile Crisis Outreach: 1-207-783-4680, TTY: 1-888-568-1112

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The History of Tri-County Mental Health Services

Not long ago it was common for individuals to be admitted to the Augusta Mental Health Institute or Pineland Hospital, not only for mental illnesses or developmental difficulties, which were then untreatable and considered hopeless, but also for social issues such as unwanted pregnancies and the misunderstood impacts of sexual and physical abuse.

Seeds for the dramatic changes in health care began in the early 1950's, Catholic priest Father Cossette established the Catholic Bureau of Social Services in Lewiston. Set up in response to the overwhelming needs of families, Catholic Bureau of Social Services offered counseling and other social services including adoption.

In the late 1950's, when their non-counseling services were absorbed by other area agencies, Catholic Bureau of Social Services merged with the Androscoggin Mental Health Services, a state operated agency, to become Child and Family Services. In 1963 Child and Family Health Services became the first recipient in Maine of federal funds from the Community Mental Health Act. Hailed as a breakthrough in community mental health, individuals in Maine with emotional problems and mental illnesses could now access treatment and care in their own communities instead of being hospitalized in institutions.

In 1972, Child and Family Health Services, Franklin Area Mental Health Clinic and Oxford County Mental Health Services joined forces to become what is now known as Tri County Mental Health Services (TCMHS.) This merger expanded the mental health services available to individuals in three counties and soon after, resulted in the addition of substance abuse services. A merger with Western Maine Counseling in 1993 expanded the network to include northern Cumberland County.

Today, 60 years later, and with a professional and dedicated staff of over 500 of therapists, psychiatrists, case managers, crisis workers, residential and rehabilitation staff, Tri-County provides services from 23 different community facilities throughout a five county area. Tri-County continues to take the leadership role in not only successfully moving individuals from institutions and into our communities for treatment, but also in providing support and creating hope in the recovery process. Leading the way in providing the most advanced and holistic care, Tri-County has become recognized in Maine and throughout the country for its innovative approach to trauma-informed mental health services.

Tri-County is committed to being the most comprehensive community mental health provider in Maine and continues to be a driving force to change the way the community views mental illness, mental retardation and substance abuse, along with continual improvements in the treatment and support available.

If you wish to know more about our services, make an appointment for services, or to help us with our mission, please feel free to contact us.