Show your support for MN’s crisis counseling programs

This month, legislators will decide the fate of funding to support the continued operation of the telephone crisis counseling program and to expand access to the state’s text counseling program, both of which cast lifelines of hope to thousands of Minnesotans each year.

To express your support for funding the crisis counseling programs, you may contact your elected official or members of the conference committee.  Those members are:  Senators Benson; Abeler; Lourey; Housley; and Utke and Representatives Dean, M.; Schomacker; Albright; Kiel; and Schultz.  Access a directory here:

Download a template letter here and personalize it with your information.

Register for the Stomp Out Suicide 5K

Registration for the Stomp Out Suicide 5K event opened on May 1, 2017. The Stomp Out Suicide 5K unites families for a day of fun and fitness with a serious purpose—linking people in crisis with help. In 2017, Canvas Health proudly became the host and benefiting charity of the event.

Register and learn how to form a team at

The Stomp Out Suicide 5K was created out of love and hope in memory of Alissa M. Haines of Wyoming, Minnesota. Alissa was lost to suicide on December 29th, 2011. Alissa suffered in silence. Our goal with the Stomp Out Suicide event is to reach others like Alissa, and to prevent this tragedy from happening again.

Proceeds of the event will support Canvas Health’s mental health, substance use, and crisis services, including Minnesota’s suicide prevention phone and text lines.

Funds in Question to Preserve the Life-Saving Telephone Crisis Counseling Line in Minnesota

When crisis counselors answer calls at Canvas Health’s Richfield-based crisis call center, they never know who may be on the other line. A caller could be struggling with the loss of a loved one, a difficult breakup, and they may even be seriously contemplating suicide.

A call came in recently where the caller was clearly in danger of hurting themselves. The trained counselor talked to the caller about what was going on while a supervisor listened to the conversation and used instant messaging to supply advice, tips, and resources to the counselor for the caller’s benefit.

“I’m not here to help you die,” the counselor told the caller. “I’m here to help you live.”

It became clear that the person needed additional mental healthcare right away. While a supervisor called the local mobile crisis team, the counselor kept the caller on the line and talked about the weather, plans for the weekend, and favorite music —all with the goal of keeping the caller occupied and the connection between them strong until the mobile crisis team could arrive.

During the 45-minute call, mobile crisis staff reached the caller’s location, and the counselor transferred the person safely to the team, said goodbye, and was confident that the person was safe, and the immediate crisis was over.

“None of this is easy,” says Daniel Mrotek, a Crisis Connection supervisor at Canvas Health, “but it’s needed.”

There’s something about hearing a live human voice that’s comforting when you feel alone and out of options.
Counselors at Canvas Health, a non-profit community mental health agency, answer more than 35,000 calls and 11,000 texts from individuals in similar situations each year. This month, legislators will decide the fate of funding to support the continued operation of the telephone crisis counseling program and to expand access to the state’s text counseling program, both of which cast lifelines of hope to thousands of Minnesotans each year.

A common misperception is that the State already pays the estimated $1.3 million to operate the 50-year-old telephone crisis counseling service. Actually funding is cobbled together utilizing a few contracts and fundraising. Even those efforts haven’t been enough. The service regularly experiences a loss of as much as $300,000 per year, which has become unsustainable. Unless funds are appropriated this Session by the Legislature, the program will be drastically reduced, leaving an estimated 50,000 individuals per year to find other services for help. Those individuals may end up being directed to the already overburdened 911 departments, hospital emergency departments, and mobile crisis teams.

Offered free-of-charge to people in Minnesota, confidential calls and texts to the crisis center are often the first step for people who need to access mental healthcare service. This service also offers a stabilizing influence for people who have serious and persistent mental illness who may be overwhelmed, or feeling unbalanced on their medications. And finally, crisis counseling provides hope, resources, and the ability to immediately dispatch emergency care to people who may be considering suicide.

If the telephone service is downsized, a person could still receive crisis counseling by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline phone number, but these calls will no longer be routed to an organization based in Minnesota and familiar with the resources available within the state. Instead, they would likely be routed to a call center in another state – one unfamiliar with resources available in the state. A lack of timely, appropriate care can mean the difference between life and death for a vulnerable person in crisis, especially if they are contemplating suicide.

To express your concern, you may call your elected official or call members of the conference committee.  Those members are:  Senators Benson; Abeler; Lourey; Housley; and Utke and Representatives Dean, M.; Schomacker; Albright; Kiel; and Schultz.  Access a directory here:

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, as well as a statewide phone and text crisis line. The agency acts as a safety net provider, serving those with complex needs who may not otherwise be able to afford care. Programs include crisis, psychiatry, counseling, chemical health, and social service programs. For more information, visit

Media inquiries: Julia Yach,; (651) 275-4311.

Oakdale clinic offering walk-in mental health assessments Thurs. and Fri. at 8 a.m.

Canvas Health’s Oakdale clinic is proud to be offering walk-in mental health assessments at 8 a.m. on Thursdays and Fridays. Clients should bring their insurance cards. These appointments are first-come, first served. Our Oakdale clinic is located at 7066 Stillwater Boulevard North, Oakdale, MN 55128.

TXT4Life Statewide Conference to be held April 4-5

TXT4Life, a service of Canvas Health, will be hosting a Statewide Conference, April 4-5, 2017 at Grand Casino in Hickley, Minn.

The conference theme is Ensuring Safety, Creating Hope: An Action Response for Suicide Prevention.

Conference topics will include best practices that address the connection of suicide to unhealed historical and current trauma; chemical health issues, including opioid addiction; and Native approaches to crisis services. Participants also will have the opportunity to take part in evidence-based suicide prevention training (QPR Training).

TXT4Life Statewide Conference participants can earn up to 13.5 CEUs and fulfill requirements for licensure. Content includes chemical health, mental health, crisis intervention, and cultural inclusiveness. We have applied for CEUs from the following boards:

Minnesota Board of Social Work
Minnesota Board of Behavioral Health and Therapy
Minnesota Board of Marriage and Family Therapy
Minnesota Board of Psychology

Find out more and register here.

Canvas Health to Carry On Stomp Out Suicide’s Mission and 5K Event

Canvas Health recently entered into an agreement with Stomp Out Suicide, a local organization dedicated to preventing suicide and promoting mental health through public awareness, to carry on its incredible mission and 5K event.

Sean and Katie Haines created the Stomp Out Suicide event five years ago after their daughter, Alissa Marie Haines, died by suicide at the age of 15. Since its inception, the Stomp Out Suicide event has grown from a small community event to one that attracts over 1,500 people from all around the metro.

“We feel that Stomp Out Suicide’s mission of bringing both hope and awareness of mental illness and suicide prevention fits well with Canvas Health’s mission. We feel proud and honored that Sean and Katie have asked Canvas Health to carry the Stomp Out Suicide event into the future,” said Matt Eastwood, Canvas Health CEO.

This year’s Stomp Out Suicide 5K is scheduled for August 19 in Wyoming, MN! More details coming soon.

Canvas Health Selects New Doctoral Psychology Interns

Canvas Health offers students the opportunity to gain valuable on-the-job experience through its doctoral psychology internship program. Each year, the organization selects three interns from a pool of nationwide candidates.

Canvas Health is proud to announce its new doctoral psychology interns for the 2017-2018 academic year: Peter Lynn of the Clinical Science and Psychopathology program at the University of Minnesota, Stephanie McCarty of the University of St. Thomas, and Jessica Miller of the Minnesota School of Professional Psychology. Congratulations!


Familias Unidas Program offered for Spanish-speaking families

Spanish-speaking community members: Please join us at the Familias Unidas Program, beginning Tuesday, February 7 from 6-8 p.m. at Canvas Health’s Richfield location (1550 East 78th Street; Richfield, MN 55423). This is a 13-week program for families facilitated in Spanish by CLUES providers that provides education on chemical health and mental health topics to support families and reduce stigma. The sessions are free-of-charge and include a light dinner. Click on the links for more information: Familias Unidas Flyer and CLUES Brochure.

Canvas Health a partner in Make It OK in the Valley to shrink the stigma of mental illness

(story courtesy of the Lowdown – St. Croix Valley Area) – Communities in the St. Croix River Valley are starting a campaign—Make It OK in the Valley—to shrink the stigma of mental illness.

Leading the effort are HealthPartners hospitals and clinics in partnership with Washington County, St. Croix County, the Stillwater and White Bear Lake school districts, Andersen Corporation, Canvas Health, and Family Means and Youth Service Bureau. Radio, website, billboard and bus shelter ads will help to raise awareness of the campaign in the St. Croix Valley as well as in the Twin Cities and Goodhue County.

Marna Canterbury, director of community health for Lakeview Hospital, said, “This is a grassroots effort to start a conversation about mental illness and reduce the stigma. The goal of this campaign is to make it just as OK to talk about mental illness as we do about diabetes, heart disease and other physical illnesses.”

The Make It OK campaign is sponsored by HealthPartners, Regions Hospital Foundation, the Minnesota chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and Twin Cities Public Television (TPT). More than 30,000 people have visited The website features personal stories of people living with mental illness, tips on talking about mental illnesses and more. Five Make It OK documentaries on TPT won a Board of Governors Emmy Award in 2014.

In addition to the Make It OK campaign, HealthPartners hospitals and clinics have made a commitment to two other projects to improve care for patients with mental illness, including adding mental health services at Stillwater Medical Group’s primary care clinic and improving care for mental illness in emergency rooms at all HealthPartners hospitals in the St. Croix Valley (Amery, Hudson, Lakeview and Westfields hospitals).

“We support mental health in multiple ways and want to support our patients in getting the care that they need to treat mental illness,” said Ted Wegleitner, CEO of Lakeview Health and president of Lakeview. “If we can make it OK to talk about mental illness, more people will hopefully feel at ease when asking for help.”

Goodhue and Dakota counties also have Make It OK campaigns. The Goodhue program is supported by Red Wing Shoe Company, the YMCA, Mayo Clinic Health System, United Way, churches and schools. In Dakota County, more than 35 presentations have been delivered to schools, churches and community events.

Canvas Health’s ECBA Program honored with Stillwater Area Foundation Grant

The Stillwater Area Foundation presented Canvas Health with a $4,000 grant this week to help children (ages 0-5) in our Early Childhood Behavior Assistance Program. We are incredibly grateful for their support! Learn more about ECBA’s Early Childhood Clinical Services and Early Childhood Consultation.