Nebraska's 988 Implementation Cooperative Agreement and Enhancement project is a collaborative effort between the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Division of Behavioral Health (DBH), Boys Town National Hotline (BTNH), and University of Nebraska Public Policy Center. This project is designed to serve Nebraska's approximate 1,963,692 population. Just over half of Nebraska's population is between the ages of 19 and 64. Nebraska's landscape is both urban and rural, and is largely populated by persons who identify as white, not Hispanic or Latino.
Boys Town National Hotline serves all of Nebraska's 93 counties with a 27/7/365 access to Lifeline crisis calls for all ages. In 2020, BTNH Lifeline locally offered calls totaled 9,976, with 8,894 answered for an answer rate of 89%. Call volume is projected to increase for crisis call centers when 988 is implemented. The lowest level of projected 988 call volume growth (50%) would increase the number of calls the NE Lifeline receives daily from 30 to 45 per day. Utilizing a high call volume growth projection, the number of calls daily would increase from 30 to 72 per day. In addition, BTNH is expected to receive texts and chats which they do not currently respond to. Given the increased volume projections, expanding the BTNH crisis center behavioral health workforce will allow enhanced response, intervention, and follow-up to individuals experiencing a behavioral health crisis.
DHHS, BTNH, and the University will work together to build capacity of Nebraska's 988 call center to handle the increased contacts (calls, texts, chats, etc.) and meet the goal of answering 80% of instate 988 calls and respond to 75% of texts and chats during the testing phase. The team will work to establish shared protocols in place for the connection of local crisis response services to the caller, and to incorporate follow-up services for callers.