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Declining Idaho suicide rate likely hurt by pandemic

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Idaho's suicide rate dropped steeply before the pandemic, but the trend may have reversed in 2020, according to federal data.

Idaho had the biggest drop of any state from 2018 to 2019, according to the data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The nearly 15% decline in Idaho meant 52 fewer suicides in 2019 compared to the previous year.

"Some of the efforts that we had made were starting to show," said George Austin of the Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline, referring to statewide efforts to raise awareness and reduce stigma around asking for help.

The drop in suicides came after Idaho's worst reported year for suicide deaths in 2018. Idaho's 2019 figures still put the state in the top 10 in the U.S. for age-adjusted suicide rates.

Based on preliminary data, 2020 may be worse than Idaho's 2018 peak, Boise State Public Radio reported.

Austin said that could be due in large part to the pandemic, which has caused isolation, job loss, death of loved ones and relationship difficulties.

Article Topic Follows: Idaho

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