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Suicide hotline Crisis Connection to shut down at end of month

Hope for a lifeline of its own was ended when Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed the supplementary budget bill.

Minnesota's suicide helpline Crisis Connection will shut down as of June 30.

Canvas Health confirmed the unwelcome news on Tuesday, saying it has to shut down the program in order to keep providing its other services.

It had been hoping for $1 million to support the service to come from the Legislature, but the supplementary budget bill that included the money was vetoed by Gov. Mark Dayton over a myriad other objections he had.

Crisis Connection is the only Minnesota-based service that takes calls from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, with calls from Minnesota automatically forwarded to a state-based counselor.

From July 1, calls to the national lifeline – 800-273-TALK (8255) – will be routed to trained counselors from another state, which is able to handle overflow calls. 

Matt Eastwood, CEO of Oakdale-based Canvas Health, expressed concern that these counselors will not be as familiar with Minnesota and its available services as Crisis Connection.

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Any calls direct to Crisis Connection's number will be routed to local community resources.

"We are disappointed that these crisis services will not be funded by the state,” Eastwood said. "Our primary concern is for the health and safety of Minnesotans who rely on Crisis Connection as a lifeline during difficult times."

State says help is available

The Minnesota Department of Human Services said there is still state-based help available for troubled Minnesotans, saying it does offer 24/7 crisis services both by phone and in person.

People can call their county's mental health crisis phone number, a list of which you can find here, or call CRISIS from your cellphone (274747).

Text services are also available by texting MN to 741741.

Crisis Connection will continue to provide its Gambling Helpline services, while the Department of Agriculture will continue its Farm and Rural Helpline.

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