ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – Minnesota lawmakers are moving to set up a statewide text message suicide prevention program.
The House Health and Human Services Committee on Wednesday passed a bill that would take a seven-county pilot program in northeastern Minnesota to the state level. That program, called TXT4Life, lets teens get in touch via text message with counselors.
Officials who help run that program say teens would rather send a text than call for help. TXT4Life counselors have talked with 400 people a month, on average. The state’s suicide prevention phone line gets fewer than 15 calls per month.
Rep. Mike Sundin, an Esko Democrat, says he had that demand in mind with his bill. He says the state may need to provide $2.5 million annually to fund the program.