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Health brief: Mental Health Month highlights need for crisis services

Crisis services are a critical piece of the mental health system. During Mental Health Month this May, the Minnesota Department of Human Services is highlighting services that get people in crisis the help they need, when they need it.

One of 5 Minnesotans face mental illness each year, and one in 25 people live with a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Fortunately, there are more treatments, services and community support available, and many people with mental illness can and do recover.

To help people before they are in crisis, building a continuum of care has been a focus for the state for several years. People should receive the appropriate care in their own communities, and not be referred to more intensive — and more costly — care than required.

When mental health crises do arise, there are a range of services to help, such as mobile crisis teams, phone support lines and suicide prevention programs.

"As with any illness, it is critical that people get the mental health care they need and get it quickly," acting Human Services Commissioner Chuck Johnson said . "Minnesota has worked hard to build a crisis mental health system that meets the needs of people throughout the state and is there when you need it, easy to reach, and sustainable over the long run."

Mental health crisis services in Minnesota include:

• Crisis phone lines: In Minnesota, crisis services are one call away through county crisis lines. Phone numbers can be found at mn.gov/dhs/crisis. In the Twin Cities metro area, DHS is currently testing one phone number for crisis services: **CRISIS (274747). Calling **CRISIS from a mobile phone in the Twin Cities will connect the caller directly to local crisis services. DHS anticipates rolling this service out statewide in the near future.

• Crisis Text Line: A new suicide prevention service that helps people contemplating suicide and facing mental health issues. Crisis Text Line connects people who text MN to 741741 with a trained counselor who will help defuse the crisis and connect the texter to local resources. Since texting has fast become a preferred way of communication for many, texting-based services such as Crisis Text Line is an important way to reach more people.

• Mobile crisis teams: Teams of mental health practitioners who provide psychiatric services to individuals within their own homes and at other places outside of a clinical setting. Mobile crisis services provide for a rapid response, and they work to assess the individual, resolve crises and link people to needed services. In recent years, Minnesota has invested in bringing these services to all parts of the state, 24/7. Last year, crisis teams received more than 54,000 calls.

For more information about crisis services in Minnesota, visit mn.gov/dhs/crisis.

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