Ad Spot

Other’s opinion: Suicide call centers’ opening is timely

The Free Press

First and foremost, you should know that feeling somewhat gloomy right now is perfectly understandable. The continuing pandemic, daily struggles and a long stretch of bitter cold weather can add up to a bit of mental health meltdown.

But also know that if the weight is getting too heavy and seems more like mayhem than minor meltdown, help is available. Luckily, that assistance is now faster and more focused on Minnesotans’ specific needs with the opening of four new suicide prevention call centers in the state.

The centers are part of a network belonging to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Callers to the lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) are routed to a center near them based on their phone number so they can deal with a counselor in touch with local resources. Family and friends concerned about loved ones’ mental health also are encouraged to call the number.

As of last week, the state opened the new call centers to better serve Minnesotans. The new centers are a result of $1.2 million in funding allocated to the program by the 2019 state Legislature. The state hasn’t had a locally based National Suicide Prevention Lifeline call center since spring 2018, when it shut down because of lack of funding. It’s good timing that the program has returned.

Such assistance was in high demand before the pandemic slammed us. In Greater Minnesota where many farmers are struggling, the shortage of help was noticeable — and sometimes deadly. Farmers are among the most likely to die by suicide, compared with other occupations, according to a January 2020 study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made the help even more important. Deacon Tim Dolan, of the New Um Diocese and a former Extension educator, has for years counseled farm families in distress. He told The Free Press last fall that in the first months of the pandemic, his services were sought out and he probably talked to three to five families a day.

For many people, the pandemic is exacerbating much of the previously existing stress and adding another layer on top of it. Mental health deserves our attention. The Lifeline is free, confidential and available 24/7. It is a first step to getting people the help they need.

Education

Keeping students in the classroom

News

Ex-cop appeals murder conviction to Minnesota Supreme Court

News

Third US vaccine could raise question: Which shots are best?

Health

Cumulative Mower County COVID cases surpasses 4K

Mower County

MC Historical Society will hold its annual meeting virtually on March 18

Education

Helping get the word out

News

Biden surveys Texas weather damage, thanks emergency workers

News

Congress split on US strikes in Syria on Iran-backed militia

Crime, Courts & Emergencies

Predatory offender receives additional sexual assault charges

News

Front-line food plant workers up next for COVID-19 vaccine

News

Projected $1.6B surplus shoves aside deficit

Breaking News

Breaking News: Police investigating Austin woman’s death after finding “suspicious” injury

News

House to vote on virus bill; arbiter says wage hike a no-go

Business

Kramer Honored As Best-In-State Wealth Advisor by Forbes magazine

News

State to vaccinate 70% of seniors before expanding vaccine eligibility

Health Updates

Amid COVID-19 pandemic, flu has disappeared in the US

News

GOP rallies solidly against Democrats’ virus relief package

Mower County

AU: ‘Austin residents will be affected by increase in natural gas prices’

Local Government

Mower County awards $773K in business relief grants

Education

Mower County CEO Program drive-in fundraiser to be held this weekend

News

February spike expected in Minnesotans’ home heating bills

Agriculture

FFA Spotlight: Ag world celebrates National FFA Week

Mower County

The American Legion helps get National Personnel Records Center to reopen

Mower County

In Your Community: Nachos for Animals