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FAQs

Find out if the Center's peer support programs are a good source of support for you and your family

Q. WHAT DOES IT COST TO ATTEND THE CENTER'S PEER SUPPORT PROGRAMS IN PORTLAND OR SANFORD?

A. Nothing - all of the Center's peer support programs are free for children and their families.

Q. WHAT IS PEER SUPPORT?

A. Peer Support is a lot like it sounds.  Participants meet in small groups with people their same age who are also facing the death or serious illness of a person close to them.  Group members give and receive support while learning from their peers about grieving, feelings and coping.  Trained volunteers facilitate the groups.  The volunteers create a safe and caring environment so group members can focus on their losses and the feelings experienced as a result of their losses.

Q. HOW WILL PEER SUPPORT BENEFIT ME AND MY CHILD?

A. Children, teens and adults benefit by meeting, talking and sharing with others who have experienced the death or serious illness of someone close to them. The groups help members understand they are not alone.  People tell us that the groups have helped them accept their loss, cope with their feelings, and communicate better with other family members.  Children and teens also enjoy group activities and positive relationships with their facilitators. 

Q. IS PEER SUPPORT RIGHT FOR ME?

A. Peer Support is most helpful for people who want to be with others going through a similar situation and who want to share their own thoughts and feelings.  Children and adults will want to feel ready to hear other people’s stories and be able to interact with a small group of people.  Sometimes other supports can be helpful in addition to or instead of the center such as when people have other mental health needs, may be traumatized by their experience, are experiencing multiple stressors, or would prefer one-to-one support.  Center staff are glad to talk with you about what would be best for your family and make referrals. 

Q. HOW DO I GET STARTED?

A. The groups are not drop-in groups.  Call the Center at 207-775-5216 and talk to one of our staff about your family’s needs.  We will send you some more information to review with your family.   Next, you and your family will attend an initial family meeting and tour the center.  We will make every effort to help your family get the support you need.  If you have previously attended and would like to return, please call us.

Q. MY FAMILY IS FACING SERIOUS ILLNESS.  WHEN IS THE RIGHT TIME TO GET SUPPORT? 

A.  Serious illness impacts the whole family from the point of diagnosis and brings with it many changes and questions.  Some families find it helpful to come soon after the diagnosis.  Other families prefer to wait until they have a better idea how their illness will progress.  Timing is an individual decision and we are glad to speak with you about what would work best for your family. 

Q.  MY FAMILY MEMBER WITH THE SERIOUS ILLNESS IS TOO ILL TO COME TO THE CENTER.  CAN MY FAMILY STILL GET SUPPORT? 

A.  Center staff can provide limited home, hospital and hospice visiting for families with family members who are not able to come to the Center.  Other family members can attend the peer support groups even if the person with the illness does not attend.  We also provide guidance on how to talk to children about serious illness and end of life. 

Q. WHEN DO YOUR PEER SUPPORT GROUPS MEET IN PORTLAND?

A. Bereavement Peer Support Groups meet weekly on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. Tender Living Care (T.L.C.) for families facing serious illness meets weekly on Monday.  

Q. WHEN DO YOUR PEER SUPPORT GROUPS MEET IN SANFORD?

A. Our Bereavement Peer Support groups at our Sanford service site meet weekly on Wednesday.

Q. WILL I BE ABLE TO ATTEND GROUPS AT THE SAME TIME AS MY CHILD?

A. Yes - Groups for parents and caregivers meet at the same time as our age appropriate peer support groups for children so families can all attend the Center together.  Adults may choose to attend Bereaved Parents Group or Young Adult Group in Portland, or the Young Widow, Widower, Partner Group in Portland or Sanford.

Q. I DON’T HAVE CHILDREN WHO WILL BE PARTICIPATING.  CAN I STILL ATTEND A GROUP?  

A. Adults without children in the program can attend the Bereaved Parents Group, Young Widow, Widower, Partner Group or the Young Adult Group for people ages 19 - 30. These groups are available in Portland and Sanford. A Young Adult Group also meets in the TLC program for families facing serious illness (Portland).

Q. I HAVE MULTIPLE FAMILY MEMBERS WHO WANT TO ATTEND THE CENTER'S PEER SUPPORT PROGRAMS. HOW DO YOU BREAK UP FAMILIES INTO GROUPS ON A NIGHT OF SERVICE?

A. All of our groups are based upon age. In our bereavement and T.L.C. programs we have groups available ages 3-6, 7-9, 10-13, 14-18 as well as parents and caregivers. In our T.L.C. program we also break up adults into two groups: one for caregivers and one for those with the illness. The groups meet simultaneously so the whole family can attend together. 

Q.  I AM NOT INTERESTED IN A GROUP AT THIS TIME.  WHAT ELSE CAN THE CENTER OFFER?

A.  We provide referrals to other community services and individual or family counseling.  We can also answer your questions, offer support and provide resources. 

Q.  I AM A PROVIDER.  HOW DO I MAKE A REFERRAL?

A.  We are glad to speak with you about how our programs may help your clients.  We request that the family contact us directly if they would like to learn more.