🥳 Happy Friday! Thanks for spending the last three months with us!

🌤️ Today's weather: Mostly sunny, with a high near 82°.

Today's newsletter is 965 words — a 3.5-minute read. Edited by Lindsey Erdody and copy edited by Bill Kole.

1 big thing: Mental health progress — and pitfalls

Share of 988 suicide and crisis hotline calls left unanswered in their own state
Data: Kaiser Family Foundation; Note: Does not include calls to the Veterans Crisis Line; Map: Alice Feng/Axios

Indiana is in the top tier of states for local response rates to the 988 crisis and suicide lifeline.

Driving the news: More than 95% of nearly 7,400 calls made by Hoosiers to 988 during April and May this year were answered in-state, according to a new analysis from health research outlet KFF.

Why it matters: Over half a million lives were lost to suicide between 2010 to 2021 nationwide.

  • Indiana's suicide rate climbed by 25% during that same time.

How it works: The "in-state answer rate" is a measure of the percentage of calls answered within state borders.

  • 988 uses the caller's area code to route the call to the closest crisis center.
  • If local centers don't answer calls, they are redirected to out-of-state overflow facilities staffed by counselors who may be unfamiliar with the area and struggle to connect callers with local resources.

State of play: Indiana's 988 answer rate is high, but some advocates are concerned about the state's long-term commitment to providing access. The federal government initially footed the bill to implement 988, but state and local governments are responsible for ongoing funding of area call centers.

  • This past legislative session, state lawmakers opted against instituting a cell phone fee to provide a dedicated funding stream to support 988.
  • Six states have already implemented a similar fee.

What they're saying: While advocates were glad for a long overdue focus on mental health in a state that ranks near the bottom nationally, some are still calling for a dedicated funding source for 988, like the cell phone fee.

  • "There needs to be something so that we're not faced with a question literally every budget cycle as to whether we're going to fund 988," said Stephen McCaffrey, president and CEO of Mental Health America of Indiana.

Go deeper

If you or someone you know is currently experiencing thoughts of suicide, or a mental health or substance use crisis, please call 988 to reach the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline and speak with a trained crisis specialist 24/7.

2. Bob Kravitz goes off in new newsletter

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

A renowned Indianapolis sportswriter is starting a new project — and burning bridges behind him.

Driving the news: Bob Kravitz, a longtime IndyStar sports columnist, launched a newsletter called Musings of an Old Sportswriter.

The big picture: Kravitz is following a trend of well-known writers moving to Substack, a digital newsletter platform that offers simple publishing tools in exchange for taking a 10% share of subscription money.

The intrigue: Kravitz's first edition blasts his most recent employer, The Athletic, claiming the New York Times-owned sports website overworked him after he underwent open-heart surgery and held him to ever-changing metrics goals before laying him off as part of a reorganization last month.

  • Kravitz also says he had "lousy editors," adding the Athletic has "totally forgotten" about Indianapolis while cutting sports coverage.

What he's saying: "They don't give a f--- about me as a human being," Kravitz wrote.

The other side: "We respect Bob and his tenure with The Athletic. The company made the difficult decision to eliminate his role in alignment with our editorial strategy," a New York Times Co. spokesperson tells Axios.

  • "That said, we strongly disagree with the unfortunate characterization of events. We do not intend to comment further for confidentiality reasons."

3. Pit stop: Veep makes a pit stop in Indy

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

🗳️ Vice President Kamala Harris spoke at the Indiana Convention Center yesterday during the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority's national convention, one of several stops she's making this summer to mobilize key Democratic voting blocs ahead of her and President Biden's 2024 re-election bid. (IndyStar)

📝 Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita, along with 18 other attorneys general, signed a letter arguing their states have the right to access medical records of those who travel out-of-state for abortion care. (WFYI)

🍜 The owners of 9th Street Bistro in Noblesville are opening a second restaurant early next year in the Lacy Arts Building. The Ramen Shop will build on James Beard Award semifinalist chef Samir Mohammad's popular ramen pop-ups. (Indy Monthly)

4. Colts post a merch trap

The Colts will debut a new uniform this season. Photo: Courtesy of Indianapolis Colts

The Indianapolis Colts will suit up in black helmets for the first time ever this fall.

Driving the news: The Colts designed an alternate uniform with an "Indiana Nights" theme that will debut in their Oct. 22 home game against the Cleveland Browns.

Details: The uniforms feature a heathered fabric, a more modern look and a deeper blue than standard game-time apparel.

  • The team posted photos and video to social media, with players posing in urban-industrial settings, generating mostly positive responses.

💭 James' thought bubble: This is a slick evolution for a uniform that's still too closely tied to the Colts' Baltimore roots.

  • An Indianapolis team should have a more distinctly Indianapolis identity — and this seems like a step in that direction, albeit on a part-time basis.

The bottom line: The Colts would love it if you bought their new merch.

5. Weekender: This one's for the movie lovers

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

We told you yesterday about a couple of big films being released this weekend, but if blockbusters aren't your speed, you can catch the final days of the Indy Shorts International Film Festival.

Here are our other picks for the weekend:

🤘 Rock out at the Hairbangers Ball, the annual celebration of '80s hair bands, 8pm tonight at the HI-FI.

👯 Paint the town with Indy Drag Theatre, which is putting on a drag parody of the Broadway musical "Chicago" at 8pm tonight at the District Theatre on Mass Ave.

  • Additional shows tomorrow and Sunday. Tickets are $30.

🍷 Fill your cup at the Holy Cross Wine and Cheese Festival from 5-10pm tomorrow.

  • Tickets to the family-friendly event are $15 and include five samples.

Six more things to do this weekend

Our picks:

📰 James did not make the IBJ's Indiana 250. Maybe next year?

ğŸ§‘â€ğŸŽ¤ Arika is continuing to bask in the glory of elder emo summer and will be at Sad Summer Fest tomorrow.

🌱 Lindsey has not had good luck with indoor plants, but she's very proud of her thriving outdoor garden.