State's Suicide Crisis Hotline Prepares to Shut Down

June 06, 2018 06:45 PM

Minnesota's suicide crisis hotline is preparing to shut down at the end of the month following financial shortfalls.

For more than 50 years, Crisis Connection has linked callers to local mental health professionals and emergency first-responders. The planned shutdown follows a slow but steady increase in the statewide suicide rate in recent years, according to state and federal data.

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RELATED STORIES: Lack of Funding Could Shut Down Suicide Crisis Line

The center has been trying to raise $1 million to stay afloat. But that money was eliminated after Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed a broader budget bill last month amid disputes with Republican lawmakers.

The Minnesota Department of Health temporarily paid for part of the hotline's operations last year when it faced a similar fate.

RELATED: Minnesota Suicide Crisis Line Will Remain Open

The number, 1-800-273-TALK will still work after the 5 p.m. deadline on June 30. However, calls won't be answered by anyone locally.

Out-of-state counselors will field calls after the shutdown.

Daniel Mrotek is the program manager at the Crisis Connection call center in Richfield. He said news of the shutdown is devastating.

"It's just really a huge loss for those who call us and use us as a support line," he said.

"We absolutely need mental health services and we need services that are free that can be accessed by anyone." 

Crisis Connection said it was on track to answer 55,000 calls this year.

Of the calls trained staff and volunteers take daily, Mrotek said they send out emergency response services to at least two of every three.

KSTP's Jessica Miles contributed to this story


Resources for Those in Need

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - 1-800-273-8255

List of Resources from National Alliance on Mental Illness Minnesota

Veterans Crisis Line - 1-800-273-8255, Press 1


Credits

Associated Press

(Copyright 2018 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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