Kentucky, Indiana ready for national launch of 988 suicide prevention hotline | New

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Kentucky and Indiana are just days away from launching a new triple-digit hotline that could save lives.

On Saturday, the national suicide prevention number will change from 800-273-TALK to 988. It’s the mental health equivalent of 911, and a number that could potentially save lives.

A few years ago, Richard Farmer suffered an unexpected and painful loss.

“The other day I was thinking about it, wondering if she…if she had thought about what this was going to do to those she left behind,” Farmer said.

Back then, there was no triple-digit lifeline when Farmer’s daughter, Amy, took her own life.

“I think she probably did it because she left a note and said she was terribly sorry,” he said.

The addition of the new 988 hotline could change things for people in crisis.

“We now have centers that serve every county in our state,” said Geneva Robinson of Seven County Services.

Robinson said Kentucky is ready for the hotline’s launch.

“It will connect people to the closest available open phone line to a Lifeline Center. And it will just be a faster and easier way for people to reach out without having to remember all those long numbers,” Robinson said.

Indiana is also ready for the deployment of 988, according to Family and Human Services Secretary Dr. Dan Rusyniak.

He said, like other states, Indiana faces a growing mental health crisis made worse by the global pandemic.

“As with any medical condition, the better we will be at prevention, diagnosis and treatment…the healthier we are, the better off we will be as individuals,” he said.

And Robinson agrees.

“I don’t think…I know. I’m sure it’s because we know when people can connect to help when they need it most,” Robinson said. “We have good results.”

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