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UDOH Report: No increase in suicides or overdoses during pandemic

AP FILE PHOTO: A man walks by a closed store during the COVID-19 in Chicago, Thursday, April 30, 2020. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

SALT LAKE CITY — A new report from the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) shows there has been no significant increase in suicides, mental distress or drug overdoses at this point in the pandemic.

“While the long term consequences of the pandemic will take time to understand, preliminary data showed no significant increases in suicides, mental distress, or drug overdoses thus far,” UDOH said on Thursday.

The report looked at data gathered by the department showed that both indicators remained stable throughout the first 39 weeks of 2020 (the latest data available).

“The pandemic has impacted Utahns in significant ways, yet this report shows Utahns are resilient,” said Gov. Spencer Cox. “Despite these difficult times, there is hope. We are not powerless to the difficult circumstances around us. I encourage all Utahns to continue to lift each other up and provide the support we all need during these challenging times.”

This stable trend throughout the year is something state health officials say is likely related to the states existing mental health and substance use resources.

READ THE FULL REPORT

“This data suggests that interventions and treatment during the pandemic have remained as effective as in previous years, even in the face of a sudden shift to primarily telehealth and services,” said Kimberly Myers, assistant director of the Utah Department of Human Services Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health.

“If you are struggling, get help. It’s safe to go to your doctor, urgent care, primary care provider, pharmacist, and therapist. Nearly every health care provider has the ability to meet with patients virtually.”

If you or a loved one are experiencing thoughts of suicide or crisis, help is available. You can speak confidentially with professionals at the Utah Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255.

The Live On campaign also provides resources and help for those struggling with suicidal thoughts, behaviors, or loss at https://liveonutah.org/

Suicide Prevention Hotlines and Online Resources

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