First Draft: Parity of Peer Recovery Centers (Mental Health and Substance Use)

The Issue:

Currently in Maine there are 20 SUD Recovery Centers in existence or coming into being. Almost all the SUD Recovery Centers have come into being in the last few years.

Conversely, on the Mental Health Recovery Center side, we are seeing fewer centers.

The Office of Behavioral Health (OBH) issued an RFP for mental health recovery centers in the Spring of 2023. In June, we were informed that the RFP had been cancelled. Current contracts would continue for another year and a new RFP would be posted in the Spring of 2024

to fund 9 centers. There had been 11 peer recovery centers until last year when NAMI Maine closed the Waterville Peer Recovery Center in 2022 and now Biddeford Peer Recovery Center is slated to close in 2023 due to what was written in the most recent RFP, excluding multiple centers in a designated region.

For some historical context, there was an RFP for peer centers over 5 years ago that landed the community in the same place. Bids were submitted and then OBH canceled and reposted the RFP. We clearly have a disconnect between what OBH wants and what bidders submitted. Education on RFP writing is clearly need for all.

We want to emphasize the need for more recovery opportunities NOT less! We do not want to have to fight our fellow peers for our very existence and growth!


  • We need to increase the number of mental health peer recovery centers so that they are geographically diverse and a better representation of the communities that use them. We will remind all that there is no transportation service to get individuals to centers so if they are not local, they will be underutilized.
  • We recommend that an RFI process be utilized before OBH starts with writing the new RFP. This will inform OBH on what is desired from the community and educate centers on what the vision is from OBH. This should be done in full partnership with MAPSRC (Maine Association of Peer Recovery Centers).
  • We recommend that there is education and assistance provided to peer centers so that they can fully participate in the writing process of RFPs. There is a wide range of participation of peer center managers, staff and participants that either has a lot or very little engagement in defining their centers in the RFP. Organizational leadership may need education on what a true consumer operated program means.

Expected Outcomes

There will be more mental health peer recovery centers in Maine to meet the need for the greatest number of peers. This will assist in the personal recovery journey that many people ask for and need in their lives. When the vision is shared with everyone, then we would have a more successful RFP process.

To submit feedback, ideas, or a personal story relating to this issue statement, please send it to the CCSM either by mail at: 219 Capitol St. Suite 7, Augusta, ME 04330, or email at [email protected]