Update on 988 in Indiana
If you or someone you know is currently experiencing thoughts of suicide, or a mental health or substance use crisis, please call 9-8-8 to reach Suicide & Crisis Lifeline and speak with a trained crisis specialist 24/7.
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.
As of July 16, 2022, 988 is now 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.
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 is now available nationwide for call (multiple languages), text or chat (English only). Those experiencing a mental health-related or suicidal crisis, or those looking to help a loved one through a crisis, may now use 988 as the number to call to reach the Lifeline. The previous number, 800-273-8255, will also continue to work.
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.
Who will answer the calls when someone calls 988?
- 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.
Who are the providers who handle the calls in Indiana?
- 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 a 988 center.
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.
Can I call 988 from anywhere in the state?
What information is collected from me when I call?
- If the caller wants to be anonymous, they can remain anonymous. People calling 988 are not required to provide any personal data to receive call center services. Your phone number will be displayed for the center for routing purposes, but callers can take steps to block their number on outbound call (e.g. using *67 or using cell phone operating system settings to block one’s number).
Is there a cost to call 988?
- No. The support and services received from the call centers are provided at no charge. However, standard data rates or call charges from telecommunications carriers could apply.