By Bill Hudson

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) —At a time when the state’s rate of depression and suicide is rising, a critical tool for those in need is going away.

The Crisis Connection is a 24-hour hotline for people facing mental health challenges.

But funding it has been a problem.

When a requested state grant went away in the state budget standoff, its operators had no choice but to close the call center down.

The Crisis Connection hotline has been around for years and handles about 50,000 calls annually. But on June 30, people in need will have to call elsewhere.

The closure comes at a time of growing need. Mental health and suicide prevention services are seeing more demand.

“It absolutely is a loss for our state,” said Sue Abderholden, the executive director of NAMI Minnesota.

Crisis Connection is a statewide hotline that had local counselors taking calls.

But staffing the hotline is expensive.

The private nonprofit Canvas Health requested $1 million of state help to continue.

In a battle over spending priorities, Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed the supplemental bonding bill.

“Suicide has increased exponentially over the last couple of years,” said Minnesota Commissioner of Human Services Emily Piper. “We want to make sure we’re responsive to those needs.”

While Crisis Connection is closing, there are still lots of options available.

Counties are required to offer crisis lines, and there are currently 43 available.

In the seven-county metro area, people in need can dial **CRISIS (**274747).

“Sometimes people just need someone to talk to,” Abderholden said. “It’s not that you’re going to send out a mobile crisis team, they just need to talk with someone at that moment in time.”

The Crisis Connection did more than give help to people in need of mental health services, it also provided help to gambling addicts as well as farmers in crisis.

State agencies say those services will be continued. If you are in crisis and need help, here are resources you can use:

  • Minnesota has had and will continue to have 24/7 crisis services available across the state, available both by phone and in person by calling the appropriate county crisis phone number. A list of numbers can be found at mn.state/dhs/crisis,
  • In the metro area, people in crisis can call **CRISIS (274747) from a mobile phone. This mobile phone service will soon be available statewide.
  • Crisis Text Line is a text-based crisis line available 24/7. Text MN to 741741.
  • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline will continue to be available without interruption at 800-273-TALK (8255).
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