June 19, 2018
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Non-Profit of the Year Award: Acadia Hospital honored for its approach to empowerment

Debra Bell | BDN
Debra Bell | BDN
Dan Coffey is the president and CEO of Acadia Hospital.
By Debra Bell, Special to the BDN

For nearly 22 years, Acadia Hospital has helped people of all ages struggling with a variety of issues. From pain treatment to chemical dependency to mental health issues, Acadia Hospital is a trusted resource for people to receive help.

Their work advocating and caring for inpatient and outpatient clients in conjunction with outreach into the community and innovative programming has earned it the Non-Profit of the Year award from the Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce.

Acadia Hospital, located at 268 Stillwater Ave. in Bangor, is an accredited and licensed non-profit psychiatric hospital, licensed for up to 100 beds. Its services range from providing treatment to children, teens, and adults to community outreach and education, as well as consultations to healthcare facilities. Above all, said Acadia Hospital President and CEO Daniel B. Coffey, Acadia Hospital advocates for its patients and empowers them to make positive changes.

“[The award] wasn’t even on our radar,” said Coffey. “To essentially be recognized for excellence by the business and community leaders of our region elevates the fields in which we work and sends a strong message to those living with a mental illness and/or substance abuse disorder that they are not alone, and that through treatment there is hope. This recognition provides an additional opportunity to educate the community not only about Acadia Hospital, but about the illnesses we treat and the people we serve.”

The work Acadia Hospital does goes beyond just providing service to its current clients. It’s about educating the community to diminish the stigma associated with mental illness and substance abuse.

“Community education and outreach is a cornerstone of our mission to empower people to improve their lives, and I’m pleased that our efforts are being noticed and making an impact for individuals struggling with a mental health issue,” said Coffey. “I think we have become known for leveraging technology and social media as a means to reach a wide audience, as is evidenced by the 46,500 people who have viewed ‘The Road Back’ on our YouTube channel, for example.”

“The Road Back” is a video produced by Acadia Hospital and Saco-based Project AWARE. The video was written and directed by Hermon High School senior Faith Bishop. Acting was done by area teens. In addition to receiving honors from Healthline.com, the film also won Best Student Film at the Lewiston-Auburn and Iowa Independent Film Festivals.

For current patients, the Acadia Hospital does more that just provide a healthcare setting. It provides an environment conducive to healing.

From the installation of the Anita Leonard Healing Garden in 2013 that features a sculpture commissioned in 2012 for the Schoodic International Sculpture Symposium, to the new Cyr Interfaith Chapel, to a new music and wellness program in partnership with Bangor Symphony Orchestra, and a staff dedicated to embracing a culture of healing, Acadia is more than a hospital. It’s a place to start anew.

“This award is for all who have made, and continue to make, Acadia a place where people come to be empowered and improve their lives,” Coffey said.

In addition, Acadia Hospital has pushed beyond its four walls to provide valuable assistance to area emergency departments. And they do it through telemedicine. Acadia currently works with 11 outlying regional hospitals to provide psychiatric consultations.

“When patients show up with mental health or psychiatric issues, our staff can give advice [while the patient is in the distant emergency department],” Coffey said. And that equates to a better outcome for the patient and is cost-effective for the healthcare facilities that work with Acadia. And for rural facilities, this benefit is tremendous.

“Patients are able to deal with a professional who understands what’s going on,” Coffey said.

In 2014, the Acadia Hospital is expanding its telemedicine services to additional primary care services in the Bangor-area.

“We’re trying these pilots to see if there are more cost-effective ways to push our services into rural care,” Coffey said. “We want to provide better care and remove the stigma attached to mental illness.”

Learn more about the Acadia Hospital by logging onto acadiahospital.org or checking out youtube.com/acadiahospital.

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