New 988 emergency number offers mental health help

Starting on Saturday, there will be a new three digit emergency number you can call to get help with mental health problems — 9-8-8.

Hoosiers and others around the country will be able to call 988 to connect to a trained crisis specialist, according to the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration.

According to the agency, 988 will offer a direct connection to compassionate, accessible care and support for anyone experiencing mental health-related distress. That could include thoughts of suicide, mental health or substance use crisis, or any other kind of emotional distress.

You can also dial 988 if you are worried about a friend or loved one who may need crisis support.

The agency announced that the service will be expanded in the future to include a response team and locations where people can go to get help. The agency says the work to complete the system is underway and will continue for 7 to 10 years.