Indiana Leads the Way: 988 Mental Health Crisis Hotline Sets National Standard

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Indiana's rollout of the 988 mental health crisis hotline is being hailed as a model for other states, according to a new report by the nonprofit mental health advocacy organization Inseparable. The research evaluates state progress in implementing the national 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline and highlights Indiana's leadership in crisis response while emphasizing the need for all states to enhance their support systems.

Dan Rusyniak, Secretary of the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, noted that the majority of Hoosiers seeking help through the 988 hotline are receiving the assistance they need. "Since we launched 988 last July, we have seen tremendous benefits already," Rusyniak explained. "Indiana routinely is in the top five states for our in-state answer rate for 988, and we have been over 90%."

The 988 number, which launched nationwide in 2022, replaced the Be Well Crisis Helpline, or 211. Unlike ten other states that have implemented cellphone surcharges to fund the helpline, Indiana has chosen to rely on a mix of federal and state funds.

Angela Kimball, chief advocacy officer for Inseparable, emphasized that the organization’s report is specifically directed at state legislators, outlining the policies necessary to establish and maintain a robust 988 mental health crisis response system. "For every state, it really creates a tool to spark a dialogue about what is needed in the state in order to actually stand up a system and support it over the long term," Kimball emphasized.

The report also points out that while Indiana excels, many states struggle with significantly lower response times, underscoring the critical need for improvement. If you are in crisis or know someone who is, call or text the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988.

Indiana's success story with the 988 hotline serves as an inspiring example for other states to follow. As the mental health crisis continues to impact communities across the nation, it is essential for state governments to take actionable steps to enhance their crisis support systems. By investing in robust infrastructure and ensuring accessible, timely help for those in need, we can work towards a future where everyone has the support they need during a mental health crisis.


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