National Suicide Prevention Hotline
In addition to the devastating toll the COVID crisis has taken on the physical health of millions around the country, the pandemic-driven isolation has also had a tremendous impact on mental health. In fact, preliminary studies have shown a rise in suicide attempts and death by suicide since the pandemic started, especially in younger demographics.
As a way to combat this troubling trend, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will launch a national suicide prevention hotline, 988, to provide a quick and easy way for Americans in crisis to connect with mental health counselors. The 3-digit phone number, which will be in place by July 16, 2022, will direct callers to 1-800-273-TALK, the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
To ensure callers to the new 988 hotline are routed correctly, residents in several areas around the country, including New Mexico, are going to have to begin dialing 10 digits (area code plus phone number) for all local calls. This change is going to be required in all areas where the prefix 988 is currently be used.
This transition is going to begin over the next few months around the country. However, in New Mexico, the transition date is:
In addition to becoming accustomed to the new 10-digit dialing, it’s also a good idea to make a list of everywhere your number appears, such as websites, stationery, and personal and pet ID tags, and begin adding the area code to your number. It’s also a good time to teach your children the new dialing procedure.