In Maine, the rate of teen deaths from accidents, homicides and suicides in 2014 was highest among the New England states, according to the Kids Count Data Center.
Maine had the highest rate of teen deaths, at 39 per 100,000 population. New Hampshire’s rate was 26 per 100,000, and Massachusetts had the lowest rate of 18 per 100,000.
Connecticut had the third highest rate among New England states, with 21 per 100,000, the data show.
The reasons for Maine’s relatively high rate vary, but experts said that possible factors include that the state is very rural, and that teens often feel isolated.
The Maine Suicide Prevention Center website reports that more young people, ages 10 and older, die from suicide than homicide. For every homicide in Maine, there were about seven suicides, on average.
Greg Marley, the senior manager for education and support at the prevention center, told centralmaine.com that “people [in Maine] tend to be isolated from social support and professional intervention, have easier access to guns and live in a culture where fewer people seek treatment for mental illness.”
From 2005 to 2009, there were 901 suicides in Maine, of which 93 were committed by people younger than 24. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among people living in Maine aged 15 to 34. On average, there is one suicide every two days in Maine, the website reports.
According to the American Automobile Association, or AAA, accidents in rural areas are often deadly because people have the tendency to drive fast on back roads that don’t have a two-lane separation from opposing traffic. This leads to head-on collisions.
In Maine, hospitals are located miles apart in rural towns, often difficult to reach. Each year, a number of accidents involve teens texting while driving or driving under the influence, AAA reports.
The homicide rate for teens is actually low in Maine, according to recent crime statistics. It’s the combination of the three – suicides, accidents and homicides – that sets Maine apart in New England.
Ashliann Gassop is a student at Achievement First, Hartford Academy.