Nikki's Story

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Mental health challenges and depression affect 1-in-5 Mainers (21%), and rates of depression among Maine high school students have been increasing in recent years, with more than a quarter reporting feeling so sad or helpless for at least two weeks in the past year that they stopped doing their usual activities. Even with access to care, getting the support and help one needs can seem like an impossible feat. Luckily, there are resources available to help connect Mainers with the support that they need.

Nikki's Story

Nikki is a champion for access to services and thriving communities. But, even someone like Nikki who is knowledgeable of resources like 211 Maine, it can be hard to ask for help finding support.

Nikki struggled with depression and her mental health throughout her life. When she became pregnant with her daughter Andrea, she knew it was likely that she would experience some depression, but she wasn’t prepared for the sadness and isolation she felt after Andrea was born.

Nikki shared, “I was numb. I didn’t know what I needed, and my husband didn’t know how to help. I felt so alone.” Nikki knew 211 was a resource, but even picking up the phone to make a call felt impossible.

So, she texted 211.

She asked if there were support groups for postpartum depression nearby. The 211 Maine Specialist texted her the name of a local group and contact information for the facilitator. She began attending the next week.

Meeting other women with similar challenges and talking about their experiences made all the difference. “If it hadn’t been for the easy, anonymous way I could reach out and get the information and support I needed, I never would have, and I don’t know what my life would look like today,” said Nikki.

211 is a free, confidential information and referral service that connects people of all ages across Maine to local services. 211 Maine is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and staffed with trained specialists that are available by phone, text, or email. 211 Maine is a collaboration between United Way of Greater Portland and the United Ways of Maine, the State of Maine Department of Health and Human Services, and The Opportunity Alliance as the Contact Center Partner.

To reach 211, simply dial 211 (or 1-866-811-5695) on your phone or text your zip code to 898-211

Today Nikki is balancing life as a mother. Nikki's career with 211 Maine and passion for helping others continue to inspire her advocacy for access to services and information.

Sharing her story has allowed Nikki to connect with other women who have had similar experiences and want to raise awareness of mental health.

Nikki shared, "Having a resource like 211 is invaluable for our community. Sometimes it can be hard to ask for help but knowing that you can just text or call and find local resources makes it so much easier. I’m so glad I reached out when I did, and I encourage anyone who might need help themselves or for someone they care about to do so, too."

Do you know what your United Way donation looks like?

It looks like CONNECTION. It looks like all of us living longer, better.

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