“Gun deaths includes suicides as well as homicides, and this data shows we in Maine are experiencing rates of suicide using firearms above the national average.” – Rep. Lori Gramlich
The Maine Department of Health and Human Services has released its first annual report on firearm deaths and hospitalizations in the state.
According to the report, there were 154 firearm deaths in Maine in 2020. The report also highlighted an additional 39 firearm-related hospitalizations that did not result in death. Deaths by suicide accounted for roughly 86%, or 132, of the overall firearms deaths reported. Nineteen were homicides and the remaining three were the result of accidents.
“As policymakers, we rely on data to inform our decisions, especially when it comes to public health,” said Gramlich. “But until now, there has been no mechanism to gather data that is comprehensive and available to the public in one place on firearm injuries and deaths in our state. Instead, we have had to rely on anecdotes, headlines and fragmented information. I introduced LD 1392 to change that so we can have informed conversations about how to save lives.”
“We often hear that Maine does not have a problem with gun deaths, but this report clearly indicates otherwise,”— Lori Gramlich, Rep.
Gramlich said the alarming number of suicides using a firearm in the single year covered by the report shows the intersection of gun safety and mental health.
“As a state representative and longtime social worker, strengthening our mental health system has been a top priority for me. For decades, the system has been increasingly fractured and underfunded, which has meant too many Mainers struggle with mental and behavioral health issues because they cannot access the care they need. To me, the numbers in this report make it clear that we have a public health crisis that is resulting in scores of firearms-related deaths each year,” said Gramlich.
A wide range of resources are available to Maine people experiencing a crisis or mental health challenge, including:
· The Maine Crisis Line: 1-888-568-1112.
· The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Both crisis hotlines are answered 24/7 and provide free, confidential support for individuals or families in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. Resources are provided Ian phone, text and chat and support non-English speaking and deaf or hard of hearing callers.