Minnesota highlights texting to find mental health help

A man uses his mobile phone in Beijing, 2004
A man uses his mobile phone for messaging in an underpass in Beijing July 2004.
Peter Parks | AFP | Getty Images

May is national Mental Health Month, and Minnesota officials are using the opportunity to remind people about expanded services for those experiencing a mental health crisis. One service they're highlighting is texting services.

Through the service, people who text the letters "MN" to the number 741741 will be connected to a trained counselor.

"The Department of Human Services recently expanded our suicide prevention and crisis texting services to cover all parts of Minnesota," said Claire Wilson, assistant commissioner with the Department of Human Services. "That's 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And that really means that more people can have access to this really important and life-saving service whenever they need it."

Wilson said they're trying to reach as many people as they can to provide instant counseling.

"We also recently, for those in the metro, are piloting a (single) number for mental health crisis services," Wilson said. "Individuals, families and service providers who are calling from a cellphone ... can dial **CRISIS, and then have their call forwarded to their county crisis team."

The efforts come at the same time that Canvas Health, the nonprofit which helps operate the state's suicide prevention phone hotline, is considering closing the hotline due to ongoing funding issues.

Resources for mental health

If you or someone you care for is struggling with a mental health crisis, there are resources available.

A list of mental health crisis phone numbers are available at the Department of Human Services website.

Other services and programs offered in the state of Minnesota can range from certified peer specialists, education and prevention services, and rehabilitative mental health services.

Services for children's mental health are also listed at the Department of Human Services website.