Health Index Priority: Behavioral Health

MaineHealth is creating a seamless system of behavioral health care across Maine, coordinating hospital psychiatric care with community-based treatment services, and improving access to medical care through integration with primary care services.

Why does MaineHealth focus on behavioral health?

  • In the past 10 years, the age-adjusted rate of drug overdose deaths in the MaineHealth Service Area has almost tripled.
  • Maine's recent surge in overdose deaths continued in 2020 with 504 lives lost, a 33% increase from 380 in 2019.
  • Between 2010 and 2020, the rate of suicide among people in Maine significantly increased.
  • One in five people in Maine have been told by a provider that they have a form of depression.

Taking Action

MaineHealth supports a variety of clinical, community and policy actions to help decrease suicide and substance use throughout the MaineHealth service area. Here are some of the ways MaineHealth and our partners are responding:

Tracking Progress

The Health Index initiative tracks and monitors a variety of data source to measure progress being made to decrease suicide and substance use. In 2020, MaineHealth leaders set bold, aggressive targets for two of these measures as a way to challenge MaineHealth organizations to continue achieving positive steps toward the MaineHealth vision.

Over the past 20 years, the age-adjusted rate of suicide has increased more quickly in Maine and the MaineHealth service area than in the U.S. overall. Suicide was the 9th leading cause of death among people living in Maine in 2021.

Suicide rate graph

The age-adjusted rate of drug overdose deaths in Maine, the MaineHealth service area, and the U.S. has almost quadrupled in the past 20 years. Maine’s age-adjusted drug overdose death rate is significantly higher than in the U.S. overall.

Drug Overdose Graph

Growth in drug overdose deaths are driven by a large increase among males ages 25 – 44. Suicide rates appear to be increasing at a slower rate than drug overdose deaths across gender and age groups.

Suicide and Overdose Rate Graph