For many, the holiday season is a time of cheer, generosity and bonding with family. For some, it’s a series of triggers that can threaten their recovery and mental health.
A recent study by the National Alliance on Mental Illness showed that for 64% of people with mental illness, the holidays make their conditions worse. It’s not hard to see why – especially for those who are battling substance use disorder. The holidays present an abundance of parties where alcohol is prevalent. Family get-togethers can be stressful, given the dynamics of some families affected by substance abuse. And some don’t have family to get together with at all, leading to feelings of isolation and depression.
The good news is that help is available. People experiencing a mental health crisis in Minnesota always have a person to talk to – during the holidays and all year around:
- You can text “MN” to 741741, and very quickly, a trained counselor will text you back and connect you to local resources, such as your local mobile crisis team.
- You can call **CRISIS (274747) from a cell phone, which will route you to your local mobile crisis team.
- If you only have access to a landline, you can find your local crisis team’s phone number by visiting.
There are 34 mobile crisis teams that cover all 87 counties in the state of Minnesota, including four that are tribal-specific crisis teams. The teams consist of mental health professionals who provide psychiatric services to individuals within their own homes and at other community sites outside the traditional clinical setting. Mobile crisis services provide a rapid response and individual assessment, resolve crisis situations, and link individuals to needed services.
On July 16, 2022, a new national suicide prevention hotline will launch: 988.Mobile crisis services are available across the state 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Research shows these services are effective at diverting people in crisis from psychiatric hospitalization and are better than hospitalization at linking people in crisis to outpatient services.
Next year, crisis services are going to get even more accessible. On July 16, 2022, a new national suicide prevention hotline will launch: 988. Minnesota is preparing for implementation of this new national crisis response system, which will offer an alternative to 911 and connect callers with local resources. This new system is expected to increase the demand for services, and Minnesota is currently working to enhance its capacity to respond to people in crisis.
But we also understand that not every mental health issue is an emergency. Sometimes you just need someone to listen. The Peer Support Connection MN Warmline, offered by Wellness in the Woods and funded by the Minnesota Department of Human Services, has a team of peer specialists who provide a safe, anonymous space to talk. You can reach the Warmline between 5 p.m. and 9 a.m. by calling 1-844-739-6369.
No matter the level of help that you need, services are available here in Minnesota. You will always have someone to talk to.
Paul Fleissner, is the Director of the Behavioral Health Division at the Minnesota Department of Human Services.