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House panel considers suicide prevention hotline via text message

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A suicide prevention pilot program implemented in a northeastern Minnesota county could expand to the rest state.

FOX 9 reports a House committee will review a bill introduced by Rep. Mike Sundin, DFL-Esko, that would establish a suicide prevention hotline aimed at teens by providing access to crisis counselors through text message.

The pilot program funded by a $1.4 million federal grant, NEXT TXT 4 LIFE, was tested in Carlton County last year. After the hotline was set up, county officials say they received as many texts from teens in a single day as they typically received in an entire month before the program.

The suicide rate for youth and adults in rural and reservation areas of northeastern Minnesota is the highest in the state, FOX 9 says.

The proposed Minnesota-wide program would be funded by the state, although the bill doesn't include what the cost would be.

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