Health department temporarily funding suicide hotline - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Health department temporarily funding suicide hotline

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Photo: MGN Online Photo: MGN Online
St. Paul, Minn. (AP) -

The Minnesota Department of Health will provide temporary funding to maintain a suicide prevention hotline that was expected to shut down.

The department will provide $139,000 to keep the hotline open at least until September 29.

The hotline is operated by the nonprofit Canvas Health of Oakdale.

It announced earlier this month that it would be forced to close the call center Friday for financial reasons.

Health Commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger says the hotline is used by tens of thousands of Minnesotans every year. He says the state can't afford to lose the hotline in light of an opioid addiction epidemic and historically high suicide rates.

The health department is talking with other nonprofits and state and federal agencies about a long term plan for a network of crisis lines for Minnesota.

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