September 19, 2022
Observing September as Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, health officials remind Minnesotans that suicide is preventable, recovery is possible and help is available anytime by calling 988.
Earlier this summer, the United States rolled out a three-digit national dialing code – 988 – as a way to access suicide prevention and crisis assistance. Since switching to 988 on July 16, calls to Minnesota’s four call centers have increased 44%. Minnesota has also seen a 173% increase in web chats (since January 2022) and a 250% increase in texting to 988. This increase is believed to be largely due to the fact that the new 988 dialing option has enabled to remember more easily how to access a trained. counselor for suicide support and resources. Minnesota received 33,887 calls, 4,099 chats and 1,306 text messages in 2021.
The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline and all four Minnesota call centers offer assistance 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
There is still a great need for 988 support services because suicide, or death by intentional self-harm, has been on the rise in Minnesota for the past 20 years. According to preliminary data, there were 777 suicides in 2021, reflecting trends across the United States. This is the seventh consecutive year in which more than 700 Minnesotans have committed suicide. Additionally, each year in Minnesota, more than 10,000 self-injury or suicide injuries are treated by health care providers.
“We know the past few years have been incredibly difficult mentally, emotionally and physically for many Minnesotans,” Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcom said. “Please use this awareness month to reach out to those around you and consider reminding them that the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is available for anyone in need of crisis or health support. mental.”
Local leaders, community organizations and employers can take steps to prevent suicide:
- Share resources on 988 and other crisis services.
- Bring suicide prevention training to your school, faith community, workplace or other community.
- Share suicide prevention messages and resources through social media. The Suicide Prevention Awareness Month Messaging Toolkit can help you get started.
- Promote other programs within the community that encourage positive healthy activities and places to connect.
Minnesota’s four 988 call centers are Carver County Health and Human Services, Mental Health Crisis Program; First call; FirstLink; and Greater Twin Cities United Way.
The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is one of several ongoing initiatives in Minnesota to prevent suicides, including mental health training for school staff and the Zero Suicide Initiative.
Minnesota began offering Kognito At-Risk mental health training for free to school staff in May 2020. Kognito At-Risk is virtual training that features role-playing simulations to help educators and school staff learn an understanding of mental health and to recognize signs of distress. More than 13,215 Minnesota school staff have taken Kognito At-Risk.
Additionally, Kognito’s Friend2Friend is a program for grades 6-12 that teaches emotional and mental well-being and how to support classmates who may be struggling. To date, 757 students from eight school districts have completed Kognito Friend2Friend.
Another initiative is Zero Suicide, which is a framework for improving suicide and self-harm care in health care and behavioral health clinics and organizations. This initiative helps identify people with suicidal thoughts and connects them to resources and treatment. It also aims to ensure that clinicians and staff receive adequate training in suicide prevention and intervention. In Minnesota, 36 healthcare and behavioral health systems have committed to adopting the Zero Suicide Framework and have completed Zero Suicide Initial Training.
For those communicating about suicide or reporting, please see MDH’s secure messaging around suicide (PDF).