(FOX 9) - Governor Tim Walz announced that Minnesota is opening four new call centers for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in an effort to provide more mental health support to residents.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a network of more than 160 call centers around the country. Callers are routed to a call center near them based on their phone number, but calls that are not answered by a local call center are usually routed to a national backup center. Back in 2018, Minnesota's only National Suicide Prevention Lifeline call center shut down due to a lack of funding. The following year, more than 32,000 calls from Minnesota were made to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline call center.
Then, in 2019, the state Legislature allocated $1.2 million in funding to help Minnesota establish new call centers. The four new call centers will be operated by Carver County, Greater Twin Cities United Way, First Link, and First Call for Help. Calls are routed to the call centers based on the first five digits of a caller’s phone number.
"It is paramount that we prioritize the mental health needs of Minnesotans, particularly as the COVID-19 pandemic has presented many unprecedented challenges. We know that this has been an incredibly difficult time for Minnesotans," Governor Walz said in a release. "These four new call centers will ensure Minnesotans receive fast access to trained counselors locally. If you need help, please reach out. The Lifeline network is a free and confidential resource available 24/7 to everyone."
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline receives calls 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The Lifeline is free to use and supports people who call for themselves or someone they care about. People call to talk about many topics, including substance use, economic worries, relationships, mental and physical illness, and more.
If you are thinking about suicide, are worried about a friend or a loved one, or would like emotional support, the Lifeline network is available 24/7 for everyone and is free and confidential. Call 1-800-273-8255.