In times of crisis, there are often seconds spent calling for help. For people struggling with suicidal thoughts, those seconds can mean the difference between life and death.
That’s why the National Suicide Prevention Hotline number is changing.
“On the 16th, when this happens, every person in the state of Indiana will be able to dial 988 the same way they would in an emergency,” said Mental Health Liaison Officer Mario Reid. for EPD.
Similar to 911, the 3-digit number aims to make it easier for people in the midst of a mental health crisis.
“When someone is in a crisis, trying to remember a 7-digit number you don’t know and dial it, it can be very difficult,” Officer Reid said.
According to 988lifeline.org, the number has the potential to improve crisis services and suicide prevention.
This is a change that addiction and mental health service administrators are promoting.
“The 16 is really a beginning of transition and not an end, there is still a lot of work to be done, we know, to strengthen and transform the continuum of crisis care.” said Dr. Miriam Delpin-Rittmon, of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
With the number set to change on Saturday, mental health experts are spreading the word.
“Once this rolls out across the country, you will get that help,” Officer Reid said.
Officer Reid is trained to handle mental health crisis situations and help people in those critical times in Evansville.
“I am currently working with Southwestern Behavioral Health,” Officer Reid said.
He believes the new number will be beneficial for people struggling with suicidal thoughts and struggling with their mental health, as it will quickly offer the assistance needed to help calm the situation.
“The option is not like, you don’t have to go into the phone book and look, you don’t even have to go online and look, you can just call 988 “, said Officer Reid.
For anyone from Vanderburgh or other southern Indiana counties who calls 988, that call will be transferred to Southwestern Behavioral Healthcare and they will be able to offer any assistance needed.
Trained crisis counselors will respond to calls and if further intervention is needed, a team of behavioral health professionals will respond to help with the situation.
Until July 16, if you or someone you know is in crisis, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.