FirstLink 211 Text Program set to launch this week

October 22, 2018 $authorName

Funds for set up supported by BCBSND Caring Foundation

FARGO—The Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota (BCBSND) Caring Foundation was proud to recently award FirstLink a grant to help support an additional communication method for people to receive help by sending text messages from their phone.

FirstLink is the only 211 helpline in the state of North Dakota operating 24 hours a day and gives residents resources, referrals, and does listening and support. They are also the only call center in the entire state who answers calls on the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

FirstLink had over 51,000 contacts in North Dakota and Clay County last year, which either were face to face or by phone. But what if you're someone who only uses your phone to text and email and are afraid to call someone? They may need mental health referrals for their anxiety, or may need financial assistance, or someone to listen to their suicidal thoughts and help make a safe plan.

"Just like we all don't learn the same way, we also like to use different forms of communication," Cindy Miller, FirstLink Executive Director states.

The new 211 text program will provide another way to get help and improve our well-being in North Dakota. Miller goes on to state, "Youth would be a large group that would be impacted by this change, but people of all ages are starting to text as a primary way to communicate."

BCBSND Caring Foundation Manager, Amber Blomberg shared, "Texting has become a fundamental way to communicate and the Foundation commends FirstLink for bringing another great alternate way of providing emergency services and counseling to fruition."