By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A crisis hotline that has helped hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans for nearly 50 years is shutting down.

Since 1969 the Crisis Connection Hotline has been answered 24/7 providing not only a person to talk to but free advice on where to go for help.

Canvas Health, a nonprofit that provides mental health counseling, saved the crisis line when it took over in 2010.

Since 2010 the nonprofit has lost a million dollars running the line. The Crisis Connection line will be answered through Friday when it will be shut down. Canvas Health which operates more than 30 other programs including other mental health services says the   line was taking away money from other programs. Eastwood said,

“We are just not a large enough organization that we can sustain losses of $100,000 to $300,000 a year,” Canvas Health’s Chief Executive Matt Eastwood said.

Canvas Health did ask for funding from the Minnesota legislature this past session, but did not receive anything, forcing the nonprofit’s hand.

“People are calling because they know we’re going out of business,” Eastwood said.

On the wall at the call center, workers are keeping a tally of all the thank you calls since Monday, both from professionals and callers who wanted to say how much the Crisis Connection has helped.

“It’s been great, because our staff is fantastic,” Eastwood said. “They save lives every day. They’re keeping track of when people are calling in and thanking them for the work they’ve done, and for simply being there for 50 years.”

The Crisis Connection says those needing help in Minnesota will need to go their county. Each county has its own crisis line, as well as access to a mobile crisis center that responds to individuals. Some counties share those services, though.

Help is out there but after nearly 50 years a lot of people are going to have to do some research on where to find it.


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