TXT4Life, a suicide prevention resource that connects individuals in crisis to counselors or emergency assistance, has announced it’s expanding. As the number of suicides in Minnesota has increased 37 percent from 2002 to 2012, HealthPartners has contributed $200,000 to TXT4Life to grow this mental health resource in other communities.
“HealthPartners is committed to overall health and wellbeing, including mental health care, which is why we partner with community-based organizations and other partners to find new ways—including culturally-appropriate approaches—to support those experiencing a mental illness and their loved ones,” says Pahoua Yang Hoffman, senior vice president of government and community relations at HealthPartners.
By texting “Life” to 61222, those who are facing a mental health crisis are connected with experts who are standing by to help. Last year, TXT4Life responded to more than 5,500 texts from individuals with suicidal thoughts across the state, and that number is expected to double this year.
TXT4Life started as a pilot project in Carlton County in 2011 and is set to be a viable resource for the community in 49 counties by the end of 2015.
Currently, TXT4Life operates in 23 Minnesota counties with plans to bring it to 16 more counties in 2015. These counties include parts of southwest Minnesota near Marshall and Luverne, and counties north of the Twin Cities including Chisago, Isanti, Kanabec, Pine, Mille Lacs and Washington.
The ultimate goal is to have sustainable funding to be operating in all 87 counties of the state by the end of 2016, in which they anticipate having around 23,000 texts.
“While one in four people experience a mental illness each year, many don’t know where to turn when they or someone they care about needs help,” explains Hoffman. “Programs such as TXT4Life are accessible and important resources to help those in crisis and connect them to the care they need.”
TXT4Life has received an outpouring of positive feedback from users and their families.
“You truly helped me and made me feel so much better,” one user wrote. “This is the best experience I’ve ever had with a texting hotline. You have given me hope. I will certainly text back if I need you guys again. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”