PLAINFIELD – When the national “988” suicide prevention hotline goes into service in 2022, Indiana’s suicide prevention call centers will be on the frontlines.
The Duke Energy Foundation has awarded a $100,000 grant to the Mental Health America – Wabash Valley Region in Lafayette to expand staffing at two call centers currently serving 87 of Indiana’s 92 counties.
A Better Way in Muncie, which operates one of the call centers, will receive half of the funding.
Last year, the Federal Communications Commission adopted rules to establish 988 as the new, nationwide, easy-to-remember 3-digit phone number for Americans in crisis to connect with suicide prevention and mental health crisis counselors. The new number will go into service in July 2022, and call volume from the higher-profile number is expected to increase demands at Indiana suicide prevention call centers.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the 10th-leading cause of death in Indiana and the second leading cause of death among Hoosiers aged 15 to 34.
“COVID-19 shed a light on the mental health pandemic that already existed,” said Brandi Christiansen, president, and CEO of Mental Health America – Wabash Valley Region. “The pandemic created financial hardships, increased isolation, and loneliness, anxiety, and uncertainty. Our suicide hotlines are an important tool to get citizens the help they desperately need.”
“We have used our Foundation funding throughout the pandemic to assist our customers and the communities we serve,” said Duke Energy Indiana President Stan Pinegar. “This funding addresses mental health support–another substantial need resulting from the pandemic.”
Duke Energy Indiana and Duke Energy Foundation
Duke Energy Indiana, a subsidiary of Duke Energy, provides about 6,600 megawatts of owned electric capacity to approximately 840,000 customers in a 23,000-square-mile service area, making it Indiana’s largest electric supplier.
The Duke Energy Foundation provides philanthropic support to meet the needs of communities where Duke Energy customers live and work. In Indiana, the Foundation contributes more than $2 million annually in shareholder-funded charitable gifts funded by Duke Energy shareholder dollars.