Minnesota Crisis Connection hotline shutting down end of June

- A major resource for adults and young people in crisis is shutting down at the end of the month.

When Governor Mark Dayton vetoed the budget two weeks ago that meant the end of the Crisis Connection, a crisis call center run by Canvas Health. The phones will stop ringing June 30. Without funding from the state, the crisis hotline cannot continue operating.

“It’s surreal, it’s hard to believe,” said Daniel Mrotek of Crisis Connection.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death in Minnesota for young people between the ages of 10 to 24. Crisis Connection staff and volunteers are trained better than most in Minnesota to handle such situations and it's the only certified call center in the state.

“We are the only American Association of Suicidology accredited crisis center, call center for the state of Minnesota and that’s a big loss,” said Mrotek. “That will leave us as one of two states without National Suicide Prevention Lifeline crisis center.”

“We go through a process,” said Matt Eastwood of Canvas Health. “We have policies and procedures, we have to follow certain rules, we have to meet certain standards to even operate our call center. And have all of our staff and our volunteers trained at a certain level.”

It’s also the only center that has a local therapist when someone calls the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Now, those calls will be answered out of state.

“We know the resources in the state,” said Eastwood. “We’re very familiar with them. We know the culture of the people in the state of Minnesota in a little bit different way than you might if you were in Omaha, if you were responding to a call from Minnesota.”

There will still be a variety of resources available in Minnesota to those in need, but a very important piece of the suicide safety net is gone.

“Crisis Connection has been around since 1969 and offering a crisis service, their motto has been ‘So that no one in crisis will ever be alone,’” said Eastwood. “That’s why they exist that’s why they’ve been there and that’s the work they’ve done for nearly 50 years.”

WHAT YOU CAN DO

If you believe someone is at risk of suicide:

- Ask them if they are thinking about killing themselves. (This will not put the idea into their heads, or make it more likely that they will attempt suicide.)

- Call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255).

- Take the person to an emergency room or seek help from a medical or mental health professional.

- Remove any objects that could be used in a suicide attempt.

- If possible, do not leave the person alone.

RESOURCES

http://www.samhsa.gov/nssp

http://www.actionallianceforsuicideprevention.org/NSSP

http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org

http://www.sprc.org

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