New three digit suicide prevention number to come in July

The state of Iowa will soon be able to use the new 988 number for suicide prevention.
The state of Iowa will soon be able to use the new 988 number for suicide prevention.(KYOU)
Published: Nov. 2, 2021 at 5:57 PM CDT
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OTTUMWA, Iowa (KYOU) - Getting the new Suicide Prevention Lifeline number of 988 up and running will take time.

All telecommunication carriers will need that time to make the necessary changes to make the number work. Donald Tormey with the Iowa Utilities Board says the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted the 20-100 order that got the ball rolling to make this happen.

During this transition period, certain area codes in Iowa must dial all ten digits for the suicide lifeline number. The area codes affected are 319 and 515. Tormey says, “They can still reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by dialing 1-800-273-8255 until the 988 prefix goes into effect July of 2022.”

If you do find yourself dialing without the area code, you will get a message recording saying your message cannot be completed as dialed. Tormey says it is okay if you cannot remember the 800 number right now. “They can call 911 I believe, or just call for assistance and have someone hook them up to the Suicide Prevention Lifeline.”

Tormey says, the wait for the new number might feel long, but once it’s active, it will make getting help so much faster.

This transition period also affects other dialing equipment and services such as fax machines, internet dial-up numbers, security systems, speed dialers, contact lists, call forwarding, and voicemail services.

For more information about the transition, click this link to go to the Iowa Utilities Board website. You can also find the frequently asked questions by clicking here.

You can call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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