The 10-digit dialing system is necessary to help people call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s new three-digit number. In July, the FCC approved 988 as the number to connect with suicide prevention and mental health crisis counselors. It works similar to dialing 911.
In Missouri, 34 additional states, and one U.S. territory, callers must now dial the entire 10-digit phone number of the person they are attempting to contact. On Sunday, Oct. 24, the Federal Communications Commission enacted a mandatory 10-dialing adjustment. Residents of the 816, 660, 417, and 314 area codes will have to dial 10 digits to make local calls, including calls to their own area code. A recording will claim the call cannot be completed as dialled if the call is not completed with 10 digits.
Many existing numbers in area codes across the country begin with 988, and the number could be mistakenly dialed by someone trying to enter a seven-digit number. To prevent that, the FCC is requiring area codes to be entered in places where these “988” phone numbers exist.
During the transition, those who need help should continue to contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by calling 1-800-273-8255 (1-800-273-TALK) and through online chats. Veterans and service members may reach the Veterans Crisis Line by pressing “1” after dialing, chatting online at www.veteranscrisisline.net, or texting 838255.