988 Crisis and Suicide Lifeline
988 is more than just an easy-to-remember number—it offers a direct connection to compassionate, accessible care and support for anyone experiencing mental health-related distress – whether that is thoughts of suicide, mental health crisis, substance use crisis, or any other kind of emotional distress. People can also dial 988 if they are worried about a loved one who may need crisis support.
988 is now live as the national three-digit dialing code for reaching The Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, formally the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The current long-form phone number of 800-273-TALK continues to be an option.
Indiana’s 988 Implementation
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 for help, if needed.
July 16, 2022, was the start of a transition, not the end, and there is still a lot of work to be done. The work to develop this complete system is well underway and will continue over the next six to nine years. Pilot projects are being funded right now, and we are evaluating the best way to establish these services through providers throughout the state.
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, and are comprised of peers and behavioral health professionals 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.
988 Mobile Crisis Response - Designation
Providers interested in pursuing designation as a 988 mobile crisis unit and in receiving Indiana Health Coverage Program reimbursement for rendered services, must complete the designation application and checklist linked below. Any provider seeking designation as a 988 mobile crisis unit are required to follow specific set of guidelines set forth by DMHA.
As part of the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline initiative implemented by House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1222 (2022), effective July 1, 2023, IHCP will be adding Medicaid coverage for crisis intervention services rendered by mobile crisis teams designated by DMHA.
Only mobile crisis units that are designated by the DMHA and follow Indiana Code IC 12-21-8-3 and 12-21-8-10 will receive IHCP reimbursement. No Medicaid reimbursement is available for services rendered prior to the mobile crisis unit receiving that DMHA designation. please
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for questions about the 988 Mobile Crisis Designation.
Questions and answers about 988 in Indiana
- 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 someone else 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 988 centers.
- Can I call 988 from anywhere in the state?
- If I call 988 in Indiana, what can I expect?
When calling 988, you can expect help in the form of an empathetic ear, a means for support, information and helpful resources, and crisis intervention if necessary. We are here to listen, support, provide resources and help in any way we can. We will ask you to share your reasons for calling and, from there, we will assess your safety and provide the appropriate help you need.
- 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).
- Can I call about someone else I am worried about? Not just myself?
Yes. If you are worried about someone else who may be experiencing a crisis, please reach out to 988 and our crisis specialists can help you find appropriate resources in your area that could help you as well as the person you are concerned about.
- Am I speaking to a volunteer or paid person?
There are both paid and volunteer crisis specialists who go through the same hiring and training process. The crisis specialists who answer 988 calls are also required to complete additional trainings throughout the year.
- What types of trainings do the crisis specialists receive?
Our crisis specialists are trained in suicide and crisis prevention and are required to pass a crisis simulation test with ongoing training throughout the year.
- How is 988 different than 911?
911 isn’t going away, 988 is just another option specifically for anyone experiencing mental health-related distress. Call 911 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 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 911 for police, fire, and medical emergencies and 988 for thoughts of suicide, mental health or substance use crisis, or any other kind of emotional distress. If you are not sure, call 911.
- How will 988 and 911 interact?
Indiana has a 988/911 Interoperability Committee that uses the 988 Convening Playbook compiled by the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors as a guideline for best practices. This committee meets biweekly to further build, discuss and establish the interoperability between 911 and 988.
- Will I be sent to the hospital if I call?
In most cases, sending you to the hospital is not how 988 will respond to calls. Keeping your best interest and your safety in mind, we will work with you and attempt to avoid sending you to the hospital unless it is deemed necessary. If you feel like you can’t keep yourself safe, it might be suggested, but we will work together, talk with you and come up with other ways to cope and help keep you safe.
- Will you provide me with transportation?
988 does not provide transportation directly, but we’d be more than happy to see if there’s a program in your area or try to come up with a solution for you.
- 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 211.
- Will 988 replace 211?
211 will remain active as a resource for individuals in Indiana. 988 and 211 are working collaboratively, and will continue to do so, to ensure we work together to support Hoosiers.
- Click here to for the 988 Indiana outreach and awareness toolkit.
If you or someone you know needs support now, call 988. Questions about 988 Indiana? Email us at IN988Questions@fssa.IN.gov.