Her grandson took his life. Then her daughter overdosed. “When people are crying for help, you’ve got to take them seriously,” said Rhonda McIver.
Deaths of Despair
As the pandemic worsened mental health and substance use challenges statewide, a record-high 58 people died from overdoses in January. The losses have hit the Passamaquoddy tribe especially hard.
In a county with few mental health resources, community members are rallying to increase peer support and education around suicide.
The Stewarts are just one family in Washington County forced to struggle with suicide in an area where demand for help far outweighs the number of mental health providers.
During a tragic winter that saw four suicides and prolonged isolation, Baileyville Police Chief Bob Fitzsimmons has served as a guardian, confidant and friend to the people in northeastern Washington County.
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