Behavioral Health Administrator Ross Edmunds: We’re here to help manage stress and anxiety during COVID-19

Gov. Brad Little’s announcement of a stay-at-home order is a demonstration of his commitment to keeping Idaho as safe and healthy as possible through this unprecedented pandemic. In addition, the Governor has repeatedly expressed his concern for the mental health of all Idahoans during these difficult times.

The advice coming from our partners in public health is to practice good hygiene and use social distancing to control the spread of COVID-19. These are critical to allowing our healthcare system to manage the ever-growing number of people testing positive.

As the administrator for the Division of Behavioral Health in Idaho, I know we all need to follow these recommendations for the health of our communities; however, the steps to control the spread of this virus can have the opposite effect on our mental wellbeing. Isolation, loneliness, and social distancing increase depression, anxiety, and emotional insecurity. Additionally, many of us are experiencing increased stress from financial insecurity, job loss, and fear over the unknown.

We will get through these challenging times together. Just as we always do in Idaho, communities will come together and take care of each other. The power of a simple phone call checking in and letting family, friends, and neighbors know you are thinking of them is invaluable. If you or you know of someone that needs assistance, help is available. Below is list of resources to help you, your family, or friends.

Resources:

  • Idaho COVID-19 Hotline: call 888-330-3010
  • Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline: call 211 or 208-398-4357
  • OPTUM Idaho member crisis line: 855-202-0973

The Department of Health and Welfare has opened an Idaho COVID-19 Hotline that can be reached by calling 888-330-3010. We have trained professionals ready and available to talk with you and assist you in accessing the mental health and substance use disorder services you need. We also have Behavioral Health Community Crisis Centers located throughout the state that remain open and prepared to assist you.

Please take care of yourselves and each other.

Ross Edmunds
Division Administrator, Behavioral Health
Department of Health and Welfare

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