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Minnesota suicide crisis line ending service

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East Grand Forks, Minn. - It's a lifesaving phone number, but starting Friday, July 14, there will be no one to answer the call. Minnesota is shutting down its only statewide suicide crisis line.

Canvas Health's suicide crisis line is the only statewide number of its kind for Minnesotans. The non-profit has lost more than a million dollars in recent years.

They say a decrease in state funding is causing them to end the service this week. But if you're in desperate need of help, who will you call?

Callers with a mental health crisis will get a recorded message when they dial the canvas health suicide crisis line come Friday, July 14. It will redirect them to 911, or to go to their local ER.

Melissa Ziegler, Manager of Outpatient Psychiatry, Altru Health System says "It's sad that another resource is closing their doors. Especially for suicide awareness and suicide prevention."

Ziegler works with patients struggling with mental health.

"Yeah a lot of depression, sadness, hopelessness, feeling isolated not feeling like they have the resources that they do in the community or within their family" says Ziegler.

But this resource is shutting down at a crucial time. In 2015, Minnesota had a record-high suicide rate. The highest number of deaths ever reported.

Ziegler says “The resources are there, but people need to know where the resources are.”

If you need help and live in Minnesota, you can still text LIFE to the number 61222, and that'll connect you with free, confidential crisis counselors. They may not be in our area, but they can still save a life.

Canvas Health helped about 20,000 people every year, and Ziegler hopes people keep reaching out for help. She says they've noticed a decrease in the demand for suicide crisis services, at least in our area.

"We do still have numbers of those that are coming through, of those that have died by suicide. And so we just want to keep working to get that awareness out there, that prevention in place so we can help everybody" says Ziegler.

While the statewide hotline is shutting down, every county has a resource available for those struggling with a mental health crisis, where a crisis team can travel to the individual's home.

If you live in northwest Minnesota counties like Polk, Marshall and Red Lake, you can call 1-800-282-5005.

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