988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline

On Saturday, July 16, 2022, the U.S. transitioned the 10-digit National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to 988 – an easy-to-remember three-digit number for 24/7 crisis care. The 10-digit Lifeline number 1-800-273-TALK (8255) will remain operational and will route calls to 988 indefinitely. Veterans, service members, and their families can also still reach the Veterans Crisis Line with the current phone number 1-800-273-8255 and press 1, by chat or by texting 838255.

To learn more about the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration's 988 resources and information to help spread the word, visit: https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/988.

What is Ten-Digit Dialing?

A 10-digit dialed telephone call requires entering both the three-digit area code and the seven-digit telephone number to complete the call, even if the area code is the same area code as your own. When an area code transitions to 10-digit dialing, you will no longer be able to dial only seven digits to make a local call.

Transitioning to 10-digit dialing will not affect your current telephone number. Your phone number, including your area code, will not change. In California, some parts of Michigan, and in Illinois area code 708, you may be required to dial the number "1" before the area code and seven-digit phone number for local calls.

Transitions to Ten-Digit Dialing

As part of the two year nationwide transition to 988, more than 80 area codes had to shift to 10-digit dialing. To ensure that calls to 988 reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, all covered providers were required to implement 10-digit dialing in areas that both use seven-digit dialing and use 988 as the first three numbers in seven-digit phone numbers. On and after the July 16, 2022 implementation date, calls that begin with the digits 9-8-8, will be directed to the988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline and cannot be dialed as part of a seven-digit phone number. If consumers accidently dial 988 as part of a local call, they must hang up and dial again using the area code and the seven-digit number.

The North American Numbering Plan Administrator has a complete listing of affected area codes and resource materials for local government and community organizations.

1-800-273-TALK will remain operational operational and will route calls to 988 indefinitely.

Unrelated to the "988" transition, the "202" area code moved to 10-digit dialing on October 9, 2021. Calls dialed using only seven digits will no longer be completed. This move will allow for a new area code, "771," to be added to the current "202" area.

What Changes Will Businesses Need to Make?

If your company uses a PBX or VoIP phone system, you may need to update or reprogram it for 10-digit dialing as of July 16, 2022.

Why Is Ten-Digit Dialing Necessary?

There are more phones in America than there are people, and each phone needs its own phone number. Beginning in the early 1990s, to accommodate the growing need for more phone numbers, some areas began to add a second area code for local calls. Dialing both the area code and the seven-digit number was necessary to ensure the call reached the intended recipient. As more area codes begin to run out of new seven-digit numbers to assign, a second local area code may be added, requiring that area to transition to 10-digit dialing.

In 2020, the FCC established "988" as the new, nationwide three-digit phone number for the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. The new dialing code became available nationwide on July 16, 2022 to provide an easy to remember three-digit number to reach suicide prevention and mental health counselors. To help facilitate the creation of "988," area codes that use "988" as a local exchange, or the first three digits of a seven-digit phone number, now need to use 10-digit dialing.

Printable Version

Ten-Digit Dialing (pdf)

 

Date Last Updated/Reviewed: 
Thursday, July 21, 2022