Recovery Off the Mainland’s a Little Different

Recovery Off the Mainland’s a Little Different


November 2019
Recovery off the mainland’s a little different
By Courtney Naliboff

While life on one of Maine’s 15 unbridged islands can seem idyllic, the reality in geographic isolation, with a finite number of fellow islanders, can lead some residents to seek out drinking or drug use as a “common denominator.”

[S]everal organizations exist to connect islanders to recovery services.

Maine Seacoast Mission…which has offered medical, educational and spiritual support to island communities since 1905 – including access to counselors who work with addiction issues – is one such organization.

With telemedicine equipment, including a specialized examination camera and other diagnostic devices, the Mission allows people to see primary-care doctors and counselors.

“I do work with Acadia Family Center, which is in Southwest Harbor, and MDI (Mount Desert Island) Behavioral Health, and both of those work with addiction issues,” says Sharon Daley, a registered nurse and the mission’s director of island health. Daley is available for family members and patients to talk to, has assisted physicians with drug-testing patients taking suboxone – a medication prescribed for people in recovery from opioid use – and has hosted counseling sessions aboard the Sunbeam V, the mission’s 75- foot vessel, currently in dry dock for repairs.

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Learn more about the Mission’s Island Health services

#GivingTuesday – Thank You for Including Mission Communities

#GivingTuesday – Thank You for Including Mission Communities

BAR HARBOR, ME — Thank you for including the Mission’s Downeast and unbridged island communities this #GivingTuesday.

Each year at Christmas time, the Mission distributes holiday gifts to children, families, elderly, and nursing home residents. The tradition of Mission Christmas presents began more than 100 years ago when the Mission brought gifts to island residents and lighthouse keepers.

Last year, thanks to generous donors we helped with gifts for over 1,500 children and elderly in need. Our Christmas Program Wish List 2019 with shipping instructions is available for downloading here. For the first time, we are also providing a wish list on Amazon which can be accessed by this link.

This morning we were given an Wish List update from Tara, one of the staff running the Christmas Program. Tara said, “Some items currently needed for the Christmas Program are gifts for teens, younger kids (especially girls), babies and we could really use boys and girls clothing sizes 4-8.”

Sharon Daley – Six Island Flu Clinics Without the ‘Sunbeam V’

Sharon Daley – Six Island Flu Clinics Without the ‘Sunbeam V’

Mission Island Health Services Director Sharon Daley gives islander a flu shot.

NORTHEAST HARBOR, ME — Getting to the islands without the Sunbeam V has been a challenge in many ways. We have met those challenges with a lot of help from many people. This includes help with transportation (boats, planes or cars), and with places to stay, phones, internet use, and numerous other things.

How I worked flu clinics recently on six islands is a good example. The flu clinics happen when people get there, not by appointment.

For example, before or after going out to haul. If I am there, I am available. With no Sunbeam I set up at town offices, libraries, and homes.

One day I held flu clinics on four islands. Isle au Haut island was the first. Without my office aboard the Sunbeam I used the IAH town hall for the clinic.

After leaving IAH on the Mission’s temporary replacement boat, Moonbeam, we went to Frenchboro, setting up a clinic in the library.

From Frenchboro we went in the afternoon to Great Cranberry. I was met by someone who drove me to on home visits for people unable to come to the clinic. After that, we set up for a flu clinic at the Cranberry House.

The large turnout meant I was going to run out of flu vaccines, and I still had one island to go. After many phone calls to MDI Hospital, Carroll Drug Store, and the Mount Desert Nursing Association I found more vaccines. This was a team effort of people willing to think outside the box and go out of their way to be helpful.

Of course, I located the vaccines while I was on an island and the vaccines were on the mainland. But we figured out how to get it from Southwest Harbor. Storey King, the Moonbeam Captain, dropped me on Islesford and headed to Southwest Harbor, picked up the vaccine, and brought it back to me.

We held a very successful evening flu clinic, helped again by islanders who posted information, signed in people, fed me a wonderful dinner, and put me up for the night.

Because of the storm that night power went out and boats were canceled. But as the wind died down a bit, a lobsterman headed to NE Harbor let me catch a ride back to the mainland.

Written by Island Health Services Director Sharon Daley, RN

Downeast Maine Tiny House Project Foundation Completed

Downeast Maine Tiny House Project Foundation Completed

Downeast Maine Tiny House Project foundation.

CHERRYFIELD, ME — The Downeast Maine Tiny House Project foundation in Milbridge is complete. John Goodwin is amazing and has gone above and beyond for all of the site work and working with the other contractor timelines. Now, the foundation needs to be protected from the foul weather until the Tiny House home is delivered. A carpenter will arrive this weekend and enclose the exposed foundation. The future military veteran homeowner, Ryan, agreed to keep the foundation clear of snow shove.

I will keep the property plowed out and clear for when the crane and trailer arrive. This pilot project was way above our original scope. We have learned so much from the process. The next one will be a piece of cake!

Written by Mission Housing Rehabilitation Manager Scott Shaw

‘Moonbeam’ Crew Outpaces Gale Force Winds on GCI Trip

‘Moonbeam’ Crew Outpaces Gale Force Winds on GCI Trip

NORTHEAST HARBOR, ME — Moonbeam Captain Storey King and Mission Outreach Director/Chaplain Douglas Cornman cruised to Great Cranberry Island, prior to a November 24 afternoon storm.

Douglas led Sunday worship and helped islanders pack shoe box gifts for Operation Christmas Child.

The theme for the day’s service was “Finding Gratitude within Surprise.”