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What is 988?

The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline (you may also see and hear 988 referred to by its former name, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline) is a service in the United States and Canada that offers 24/7 call, text and chat access to trained crisis counselors who can help people experiencing suicidal, substance use, and/or mental health crisis, or any other kind of emotional distress. People can also dial 988 if they are worried about a loved one who may need crisis support.

What is iCarol?

iCarol is a cloud-based software solution that 988 centers use to:

  • Engage people on a number of different communications channels—Phone*, Live Chat, SMS/Text, or web forms to help them make inquiries and access the services they need
  • Document notes and important data about the interactions they have
  • Assess clients to determine risk level and how best to assist them
  • Create and maintain a database of service providers to provide as resources to people in need
  • Dispatch Crisis Intervention Teams to assist people on-site
  • Coordinate entry with appropriate services such as crisis stabilization, or other community-based programs
  • Follow-up and continue supporting people throughout their recovery process
  • Provide funders, stakeholders, and 988 administrators with valuable information on community needs, service gaps, demographics, client satisfaction information, and other non personally identifiable data—this is important to ensure the service is meeting requirements and receives the needed funding to serve the community
  • Manage and communicate effectively with their staff and volunteers
  • Ensure staffing and shift coverage to meet the needs of their hours and incoming volume of contacts
  • Partner with regional crisis systems, community-based organizations, network administrators, and others to better serve clients using iCarol’s collection of collaboration and integration tools
  • And much more
*iCarol is not a telephony system, but has capabilities to integrate with telephony systems.

iCarol’s History with 988

iCarol was created in 2004 by crisis hotline volunteers. Seeing a need for specialized software for that industry where none currently existed, the founders created iCarol as a software solution to serve the unique needs of the industry and designed it specifically for helplines, crisis centers, warmlines, and similar services. When the Lifeline (now known as 988) was created in 2005, many of iCarol’s customers joined that network and used iCarol to fulfill their activities associated with their Lifeline work. Over time, more and more centers using iCarol joined the Lifeline network. Many other centers who joined the 988 network decided to switch to iCarol from a previous solution or move to iCarol from paper-based administration of programs. Today iCarol serves all of Canada’s 988 service, and about half of the roughly 200 local crisis centers that participate in the United States Lifeline/988 network, and more are joining iCarol each year.

iCarol Staff

Many members of the iCarol team, and 100% of the Support Team, have a history working at helplines, including 988 centers. We have a deep knowledge of what it’s like to work at these services, what those organizations need in order to do their work and best serve the people who reach them. We are passionate about helpline people and fostering healthy communities, and therefore we’re strong supporters of the 988 initiative!

What is the “Unified Platform?”

The administrators of 988 are developing a way to eventually collect consistent contact and other data from the numerous centers that make up the 988 network, which is commonly referred to as a “unified platform.”

According to representatives from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which funds the 988 initiative, crisis centers can utilize whichever contact management software they wish so long as they are collecting and reporting required information to the 988 network administration. Each individual provider in the 988 network can use the chosen system that best meets all their business needs. Administrators of 988 do require that participating crisis centers collect certain information and share it with them for the purpose of reporting consolidated data across the entire network.

Can iCarol work with the “Unified Platform?”

iCarol offers a multitude of ways for our customers to work with their partners. That includes providing our 988 centers with various options on how to supply the 988 administrators with required data. We have worked with the 988 administrators on topics such as shared form design, data collection requirements, standardized assessments, and more. iCarol has the capability to implement these and other elements into the iCarol systems of 988 centers and work together with those individual centers and 988 administrators to decide the best way to seamlessly and securely get the information from the 988 center’s iCarol system into the 988 administrator’s unified platform.

We recognize that for the majority of 988 centers, 988 is just one service you provide among perhaps several other phone lines or other programs you administer to help address the mental and behavioral health needs of your community. iCarol empowers you to meet the needs and requirements of your 988 service, while at the same time helping you administer all of your local services and contracts. Talk to us about what your requirements are, and we’ll be happy to help you move forward with using iCarol to help people reaching you through 988! If you are already using iCarol, please contact our Support Team for assistance. Not using iCarol yet? We would love to hear from you – schedule some time to talk with us about your needs.

How iCarol Can Help Your 988 Center? Let’s Talk!