Carlton Co. suicide prevention program receives statewide award for "excellence"

By KBJR News 1

December 18, 2013 Updated Dec 18, 2013 at 2:48 PM CDT

Cloquet, MN (NNCNOW.com) - A program designed to aid people in their most vulnerable of moments has received its second round of statewide attention.

Carlton County's Text4Life program offers a way for those contemplating suicide to reach out and ask for help through text messaging.

Last week, the program received the Association of Minnesota Counties award for exhibiting excellence and innovation.

According to Text4Life grant director Dave Lee, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline reported answering about 25 calls a month from youth and young adults, prior to a boost from state legislative funding.

That number has jumped to 300 text conversations with the implementation of the text hotline.

"If we can get the text4life number programmed into their phone, and their phone is with them and they've already been prepped on 'this is what you can do in a crisis,' it works," said Lee in his Cloquet office, Tuesday.

Lee says the helpline has received hits from all 50 states.

Minnesota legislature has allocated money to begin rolling out the program statewide.