Minnesota's Suicide Prevention Lifeline call centers offer help in difficult time for many

Crystal Bui
Updated: February 19, 2021 06:17 PM
Created: February 19, 2021 04:19 PM

This year, Minnesota got its own local Suicide Prevention Lifeline call centers. It comes at a time when there’s greater need for mental health resources during the pandemic.

"We are noticing feelings of isolation," said Carolina De Los Rios, who works for the Greater Twin Cities United Way and also is a call-taker for the lifeline. "People feel really lonely, very disconnected, a lot of intense feelings of discouraged; lack of hope, is what we're hearing."

Thanks to $1.2 million in funding from the state, Minnesota callers will now receive local assistance that’s anonymous, confidential and free.

"Our team — both the suicide prevention team and our 211 team — provide referrals to local resources every day. So we have a database of 40,000 different resources around the state to be able to understand if someone asks about, everything from rent assistance, food shelf, to job training assistance," said James Collins, with the Greater Twin Cities United Way.

Local call-takers mean a more personal understanding of the community, and knowledge to help and share local resources.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline receives calls 24 hours per day, seven days a week. It's 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.

The lifeline network is available 24/7 for everyone and is free and confidential at 1-800-273-TALK or 1-800-273-8255.

"There's a team of caring, connected people that want to hear from them. That want to answer their questions, and want them to know they're not alone in whatever crisis they may be experiencing," Collins said.

They’ve already taken over 500 calls this year.

"Don't feel that you don't have anyone to turn to. We are here to help you, to hear your ideas, so you are not alone," De Los Rios added.

For more resources, you can check out the Greater Twin Cities United Way by dialing the numbers 211, texting your zip code to 898-211* or going to www.211unitedway.org.


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