Indiana’s mental health helpline sees recent spike in calls, officials say

Coronavirus

INDIANAPOLIS – It’s National Suicide Prevention Week, and it comes at a time many Americans are struggling with their mental health due to the pandemic.

We’re also two days away from the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, a triggering event for many people.

“The changes that have taken place over the past year and a half have been unprecedented,” said Kimble Richardson, a licensed mental health counselor with Community Health Network.

Richardson said he and his colleagues at Community Health Network are continuing to see increased demand for mental health services.

“We have probably at least doubled, if not tripled and quadrupled, the requests for support,” he said.

Indiana’s Be Well Crisis Helpline, which offers counseling 24/7 and can be reached by dialing 211, has taken more than 20,000 calls since it was launched in July 2020, according to Kelsi Linville of the Indiana Division of Mental Health and Addiction. And there has been a spike recent months, she added.

“Whether that has to do with back to school or an increase in cases or people going back to work, there is still a lot of stress that people are feeling,” she said.

Linville encourages people to use the Be Well Indiana website, which was set up earlier in the pandemic to connect Hoosiers with resources. 

“We want people to know it’s OK if you’re not OK,” she said.

“This anniversary effect is real, and we relive much of that event,” said David Berman of Mental Health America of Indiana.

Berman said it’s important to limit consumption of images or video you find triggering and talk about how you’re feeling.

“We’re all in this together,” Berman said. “And the only way we’re going to make it through to the other side is together, supporting each other.”

For mental health services offered by Community Health Network, click here.

You can reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

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