TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1,024 Hoosiers died by suicide in 2020.

One nationwide response to that staggering number and others across the county was the simplification of the national suicide prevention hotline to 988.

988 went into effect in the summer and local officials believe that it’s a positive change.

Harsha Behavioral Center Director of Therapeutic Services Tricia May said that 988 is a good resource, but it’s only the beginning in tackling the issue of mental health.

“That stigma of mental health issues is definitely still there,” May said. “We’re breaking gaps and breaking barriers trying to get through to individuals.

May mentioned that local initiatives are helping spread awareness of suicide prevention.

“I think that our community awareness has certainly grown,” May said. “We’ve got more initiatives that are working towards that.”

We could potentially see state legislation to improve mental health service next year. Indiana Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch mentioned a public health commission study that the general assembly could take into account.

“The public health commission did a study and made recommendations to the general assembly on what steps we need to take to improve the health of Hoosiers,” Crouch said.

If you believe that someone at home or around you could be struggling, May explains some warning signs to notice.

“One day they may be very outgoing and really involved in everything,” May explained. “Then in the next few months, you just don’t see them or don’t hear from them.”

According to Indiana Suicide Prevention, suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death in Hoosiers aged 10 to 34.