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Health and Welfare director: Idaho's suicide rate has declined during pandemic

Dave Jeppesen said he was surprised to see a decline, but added, "We will take that whenever we can get that."

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has caused a lot of extra stress and anxiety for many people.

But according to Dave Jeppesen, the director of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, the state's suicide rate has actually declined over the past couple months.

Jeppesen made the comments during Thursday's news conference about Idaho moving to Stage 4 of reopening.

"Clearly the pandemic has created extra stress on everybody including all of us here in this room," Jeppesen said. "And that has led to an increase in anxiety, depression and behavioral health issues. It is something we have been concerned about since the beginning. We do track the death data, and clearly one suicide is too many suicides. But we have actually seen a slight decline in suicides over the last couple months, which was surprising to us, but a good thing. We will take that whenever we can get that."

Jeppesen added that if you are struggling, help is available. The state has set up a crisis hotline that can be reached at any time by calling 211.

The Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline is another resource available if you or someone you know if having suicidal thoughts. The hotline can be reached at 208-398-4357.

RELATED: 'We want to be able to help': Idaho health experts work to combat mental illness during pandemic

RELATED: Advocates support youth suicide prevention in Boise

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