Without funding, crisis counseling phone line to close in Minnesota

The veto of the supplemental budget bill by Gov. Mark Dayton means that Crisis Connection, Minnesota’s telephone crisis counseling service, will go without requested funding and will be forced to close June 30, 2018.

During Minnesota’s 2018 legislative session, Canvas Health, the Oakdale-based nonprofit agency that operates the crisis services, requested long-term sustainable funding from the State to continue this service.  The organization’s hope was that the legislature would fill this gap and fund further expansion of this critical safety net service.

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

Specifically, the lack of funding will result in the closing of Crisis Connection’s main number, (612) 379-6363, by June 30, 2018. Callers who dial this number will be redirected to other community resources. Canvas Health is encouraging those who distribute the Crisis Connection number to remove it from their printed materials, web sites, and other communications.

After June 30, calls to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK) that were previously routed to Canvas Health’s Crisis Connection for triage and counseling will now be routed to another state that accepts overflow calls.

“We regret that making these changes is the only option we have to maintain Canvas Health’s other mission-driven services, including providing mental health, substance use, mobile crisis, and emergency social services to those who have the most complex needs in our community,” Eastwood said.

The mission of Canvas Health is to bring hope, healing, and recovery to the lives of people we serve. Canvas Health provides services to people struggling with mental illness, substance use, crisis, unstable housing, and trauma. As a nonprofit community mental health agency, Canvas Health offers over 35 programs at seven metro clinics. The agency acts as a safety net provider, serving those with complex needs who may not otherwise be able to afford care. For more information, visit www.CanvasHealth.org