Deaths of Despair: The crushing toll of a pandemic in Maine's ‘forgotten county'

Police Chief Bob Fitzsimmons personally connects with residents to combat increasing suicide rates, particularly among teens. Teachers reach out to the chief if one of the town’s 330 schoolchildren misses school, and he personally visits their home. His department funded popcorn and ice-cream sundae parties, as well as a New Year’s Day gathering, to ease the difficulty of isolation during COVID-19. He ensures residents’ achievements are publicly celebrated and grieves with families during tragedies, ensuring everyone has support in the rural area where medical and mental health services are scarcer.

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