On July 16, 2022, 988 will go live as a new national three-digit dialing code for reaching the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The current long-form phone number of 800-273-TALK will also continue to be an option.
988 is more than just an easy-to-remember number—it will offer a direct connection to compassionate, accessible care and support for anyone experiencing mental health-related distress – whether that is thoughts of suicide, mental health or substance use crisis, or any other kind of emotional distress. People can also dial 9-8-8 if they are worried about a loved one who may need crisis support.
911 isn’t going away, this is just another option specifically for anyone experiencing mental health related distress. Call 9-1-1 for police, fire and medical emergencies. Call 988 for thoughts of suicide, mental health or substance use crises, or any other kind of emotional distress. If you are not sure, call 9-1-1.
Indiana is using the arrival of 988 to invest in a broader crisis response system to help all Hoosiers. This will ultimately include more than just someone to contact at a 988 center, but also someone to respond and a safe place to go for help, if needed.
What it will mean, throughout the coming years, is:
A simple, short number for anyone experiencing mental health-related distress – whether that is thoughts of suicide, mental health or substance use crisis, or any other kind of emotional distress.
The establishment of mobile crisis teams who are trained and skilled in responding to anyone experiencing mental health-related distress.
Mobile crisis teams are comprised of behavioral health professionals and peers skilled in providing specialized crisis care to people on site in their community.
A greater ability to refer Hoosiers in crisis to a network of local crisis specialists who are familiar with the community and better equipped to provide culturally competent support and referrals to local resources and other lifesaving follow-up care.
The work to develop this complete system is well underway and will continue over the next seven to ten years. Pilot projects are being funded right now, and we are evaluating the best way to establish these services through providers throughout the state.
Questions and answers about 988 in Indiana
Is 988 available for substance use crises? The Lifeline accepts contacts from anyone who needs support for a suicidal, mental health and/or substance use crisis.
When will 988 go live? The 988 dialing code will be available nationwide for call (multiple languages), text or chat (English only) on July 16, 2022. Until then, those experiencing a mental health-related or suicidal crisis, or those looking to help a loved one through a crisis, should continue to call the Lifeline at its current number, 800-273-8255.
What will happen to the Be Well Crisis Helpline? The Be Well Crisis Helpline remains available for Hoosiers in need of speaking with a trained crisis specialist. This service is available by dialing 2-1-1.
Will 988 replace the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline? Moving to 988 will not replace the Lifeline, rather it will be an easier way for Hoosiers to access a strengthened and expanded network of crisis call centers.
How many crisis call centers will Indiana have? The state of Indiana will partner with up to five providers, including the three current National Suicide Prevention Lifeline call centers in the state, to answer contacts to 988. The three current centers are Crisis Center, Inc. in Gary, A Better Way in Muncie, and Mental Health America Wabash Valley Region in Lafayette. In addition, Mental Health America of Indiana, Indianapolis, and RemedyLIVE, Fort Wayne, are in the process of becoming National Suicide Prevention Lifeline centers.
How is 988 different than 911? Like 911, there will need to be a system of entities working in lockstep to establish, support and grow 988 in a way that meets our nation’s growing suicide prevention and mental health crisis care needs. We will work to ensure Hoosiers understand that they can call 9-1-1 for police, fire and medical emergencies and 9-8-8 for thoughts of suicide, mental health or substance use crisis, or any other kind of emotional distress. If you are not sure, call 9-1-1.
How will 988 be funded? The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration is using various federal funding sources, including American Rescue Plan Act dollars, to help stand up the system.
Will Indiana 988 call centers support all three communication options: calls, text and chat?There are in-state resources capable of accommodating all three forms of communication now. We are forming new partnerships and investing in new technology to further enhance our in-state text and chat capacity.
Join in for a webinar explanation on July 27th from 11:20am-1pm by Mental Health America Indiana. Registration information on flyer below.