Suicide Prevention Newsletter

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Suicide Prevention Newsletter 

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Celebrating One-Year as a National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Center 

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Greater Twin Cities United Way (GTCUW) is celebrating one year as a National Suicide Prevention Lifeline center. Their journey started on January 4, 2021, when they began answering Lifeline calls 10-hours a day with five staff membersToday, they are operating 24/7 with a team of 13In their first year, the center has answered over 8,500 calls originating from 36 different states and three countries. 998 of these were from self-attested first-time callers. Over 4,000 safety plans were crafted, and 157 callers were connected to their local crisis teams.  

Every call is answered with a real person, a trained call specialist who cares. In partnership with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, GTCUW Suicide Prevention Lifeline is helping ensure that all Minnesotans have access to trained suicide prevention specialist in times of crisis. The Suicide Prevention Lifeline team spans diverse experiences and professional backgrounds and includes staff with Somali, Hmong, and Spanish language skills. 

Recently, Call Specialist Ellis talked with a caller who was reaching out to the Lifeline for the first time. The caller was struggling with anxiety and suicidal ideation in the last year. They had lost a parent, were caring for other family members, and reported that their job was a major stressor. Ellis said, “During our call, the caller seemed to experience a breakthrough as they began to center themselves and their need for support. They were so appreciative of the help we were able to offer. It was especially rewarding for me, being able to support someone who has been working through the pandemic as a front-line worker.”  The Suicide Prevention Staff at GTCUW received over 700 compliments from callers in 2021. 

This year, GTCUW is looking forward to growing their team to respond to community needs. They also hope to develop strong working relationships with partners across the mental health care continuum, strengthen their program capacity through quality, continuous learning, and professional development, enhance support systems for at risk individuals and improve linkages to supportive services. The team hopes to continue engagement with community partners in creating awareness of and de-stigmatizing suicide prevention services.  

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in the United States.  

To reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, call 1-800-273-8255. 

To reach the Veterans Crisis Line, call 1-800-273-8255 and press 1 or text to 838255. 

Event and Resources


Webinar: Mental Health and Well-being on January 5, 2022, from 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. 

Anna Lynn, Mental Health Promotion Coordinator at the Minnesota Department of Health will be speaking on opportunities for community to promote mental well-being and individual strategies to promote well-being. Tying together all our topics in the Suicide Prevention Webinar Series, this talk will explore ways we can expand capacity and thinking for mental health promotion on both a community and individual level in the State of Minnesota. 

Sign up for the Mental Health and Well-being webinar. 

Please contact if you have any questions.  

Reducing Personal Burnout and Fatigue: How to Develop and Maintain a Wellness Plan Through the New Year  

We just experienced the holiday season, which can be a great time of year but can also be a stressful time for some filled with unrealistic expectations, emotional triggers, resolutions and neglected personal wellbeing. 

Join the Minnesota Suicide Prevention Taskforce, Intervention Subcommittee for a 1-hour session to explore a holistic approach to mental health and wellness. During this session learn how to create and use a wellness plan. Wellness plans provide evidence-based benefits that can help assess one's current mental health and wellbeing, as well as set goals for how to improve and maintain overall wellness during the New Year and beyond. 

Thursday, January 6, 2022 6:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. 

To register, please click here 

For more information, feel free to reach out to Kelly Felton at or Jenilee Telander at 


Farm Couple Retreats Forge Stronger PartnershipsRegistration now open for three Minnesota locations in 2022 

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) encourages farmers and ranchers to consider attending one of three free upcoming couples’ retreats scheduled for early 2022. 

“Farm stress can take a terrible toll on marriages and partnerships, and likewise, relationship stress can destroy farms,” said Minnesota Dairy Initiative (MDI) State Director Leah Bischof, who is coordinating the retreats. Rural Mental Health Specialist Monica Kramer McConkey will facilitate the retreats, with additional instruction by Extension Educators Jim Salfer and Emily Krekelberg, as well as Bischof. 

Although hosted by MDI, all farm or ranch couples are welcome. Couples will explore creative communication skills, personality differences, and learn about resources that can help them reach their goals and manage the stresses of farming and family relationships better. Participants also get to enjoy a mini vacation from the farm together; lodging and meals are included. The retreats are free, although a refundable registration deposit is required. 

Dates and locations are: 

  • January 21-22, 2022: Faribault 
  • February 4-5, 2022: Saint Cloud 
  • February 11-12, 2022: Thief River Falls 

Each retreat starts at noon and ends at 1:00 p.m. the following day. Registration is limited to the first 10 couples who sign up, and Bischof encourages interested couples to register soon; two retreats offered in 2021 filled up quickly. Participants must follow COVID-19 protocols in place at each venue. 

Find more information and registration forms for the Farm Couple Retreats. 

These farm couple retreats are supported by the MDA and Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Program award no. 2021-70035-35461 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. 

Restorative Practices Educational and Circle Training for Schools 

The Minnesota Department of Education School Climate Center, in partnership with Peacemaker Resources, Mickelson Consulting, Riverbottom Resources and the Legal Rights Center are hosting restorative practices and circle trainings in January and February. Restorative Practices is an approach schools can use to improve school climate and repair harm, based in knowledge and world-view of many indigenous cultures. Find out more and register for the Restorative Practices in Schools and Communities training.


2022 Minnesota School Mental Health

Conference Registration is now open for the 2022 Minnesota School Mental Health Conference January 27 and 28. This FREE, virtual conference is sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Education in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Human Services. The theme of this year's conference is "Cultivating Resilience: Educator, Student and Provider Well-Being." Registration is coordinated by the Lakes Country Service Cooperative. 

U.S. Surgeon General’s Advisory-Protecting Youth Mental Health 

The U.S. Surgeon General, Vivek H. Murthy issued a public health advisory on December 6, 2021. The advisory reinforces the importance that we all play a role in supporting the overall mental health of youth. The advisory offers recommendations for those individuals, groups and institutions that surround and impact the lives of young people-schools, community organizations, health care systems, technology companies, media, funders and foundations, employers, government, and youth themselves. Learn more about Protecting Youth Mental Health-U.S Surgeon General's Advisory 

Best Practices for Presentations by Suicide Loss and Suicide Attempt Survivors 

Incorporating personal experiences of those bereaved by suicide and those that have attempted suicide can help to increase awareness about suicide and break down discrimination/stigma. Research shows that care and safety need to be taken when messaging around suicide. The following guidelines were developed by group of experts in suicide prevention to support both the audience hearing the message and the individuals sharing personal experiences. Review the Best Practices for Presentation by Suicide Loss and Attempt Survivors. 

Updates from MDH


Minnesota Kognito School Mental Health Training Initiative 

The MN Kognito School Mental Health Training initiative continues to gain momentum within schools and districts across Minnesota. 18 new school districts and 30 new schools have accepted the invitation to implement trainings for staff and students, since 2021-22 academic year started.  

Participant completions to date:  

  • 8,521 school staff have completed the Kognito At Risk K-12 training.  
  • 168 early childhood educators have completed the Kognito At Risk Early Childhood Educator training.  
  • 766 students from schools where staff have completed the At Risk training have completed the Kognito Friend2Freind training.  

After the first year of implementation the evaluation results showed that participants reported satisfaction with the training. 

  • 96% of participants indicated that they would recommend the training to other educators and school staff. 
  • 96% of participants indicated the training scenarios were relevant.  

Evaluation results also indicated that participants were more prepared and self-confident to intervene. Of those who completed the three month follow up surveys, participants reported statistically significant increases in measures of readiness and self-efficacy to intervene.  

If you are interested in learning how to bring the Kognito staff and student training to your school or district you are invited to attend one of the upcoming informational webinars.  

Kognito: At Risk in Primary Care 

The Minnesota Department of Health is excited to share that we are now partnering with Kognito to provide complimentary access to Kognito’s virtual simulation At Risk in Primary Care or health and behavioral health care professionals. This simulation will help educate healthcare professionals in screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment for patients suffering with mental health issues and substance use.   

The simulation teaches Motivational Interviewing (MI), a patient-centered counseling technique. MI encourages the patient’s autonomy in decision making where the clinician acts as a guide by clarifying the patient’s strengths and aspirations, listening to their concerns, boosting their confidence in their ability to change, and eventually collaborating with them on a plan for change. Participants in the role-play simulation will practice leading a brief intervention with two different patient personas to discuss their symptoms and the connection with mental health.  

For more information or to register, please contact Jenilee Telander at 

Take a survey

State Plan

The Suicide Prevention Unit in collaboration with the Minnesota Suicide Prevention Taskforce are in the early stages of planning the 2023-2027 Minnesota State Suicide Prevention Plan. The plan will be used to determine priorities for available funding, training opportunities, and other strategies to support suicide prevention across the state.  

Last call to participate in the short survey! To kick off community engagement to help create the next state plan, please provide feedback in this short two-question survey. Your answers will help us determine priorities for suicide prevention efforts in our state. Visit the Suicide Prevention State Plan Community Engagement before January 1 to participate in the short survey.   

Learn more about the current Minnesota state Suicide Prevention Plan (PDF) 

Additional engagement opportunities will be coming to gather community feedback to identify priorities for inclusion in the state plan.


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