Efforts to make the National Suicide Prevention Hotline more accessible with a three-digit number will require residents of Southwest Colorado, along with the rest of Coloradans with 970 and 719 area codes, to dial all 10 digits when making local phone calls.
Help for people having suicidal thoughts or for those who fear a person is considering suicide:
Axis Care Hotline:
24/7 local response to your crisis & behavioral health needs: (970) 247-5245
NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION HOTLINE:
(800) 273-TALK (8255) or text “TALK” to 741741
RED NACIONAL DE PREVENCIÓN DEL SUICIDIO:
FORT LEWIS COLLEGE COUNSELING CENTER:
BOYS TOWN HOTLINE:
(877) 542-7233 or safe2tell.org
COLORADO CRISIS SUPPORT LINE:
(844) 493-8255 or text “TALK” to 38255 or online at coloradocrisisservices.org to access a live chat available in 17 languages. The line has mental-health professionals available to talk to adults or youths 24 hours a day.
AMERICAN FOUNDATION FOR SUICIDE PREVENTION:
Colorado chapter information available at afsp.org/chapter/afsp-colorado/
A website for adult men contemplating suicide is available at mantherapy.org
The change went into effect Sunday. However, the Federal Communications Commission has given phone service providers until July 15, 2022, to implement necessary changes to all affected area codes.
“If 10-digit dialing is not yet enforced in a particular area, then they should still be able to complete the call dialing seven digits,” said FCC spokesperson Katie Gorscak. “Although, the customer should start dialing 10 digits since that change will take place between now and July 15.”
Coloradans are not alone; the FCC says there are 82 area codes in 35 states that use 988 as a three-digit prefix number. The first three numbers of a seven-digit phone number are known as the local exchange number.
New Mexico’s 505 and 575 area codes are also now required to dial all 10 digits.
State officials made the suggestion that Coloradans begin retraining their brains about six months ago in preparation for the transition. The new three-digit National Suicide Prevention Hotline number is 988. To prevent false calls to the hotline from people whose numbers begin with 988, it was decided local dialing habits have to change.
Some people will have to retrain themselves to add the area code when making calls within their region.
San Juan Basin Public Health said easier access to crisis hotlines results in better public health.
“The information and support offered by suicide prevention call centers can save lives of people struggling in our community,” said Chandler Griffin, spokesman for SJBPH. “Suicide attempts are often tied to a moment of crisis, so if someone can get support in that moment by calling the line, they’re less likely to follow through.”
The 988 number joins other three-digit dialing services like 911 for emergencies.
Changes apply to both landlines and cellphones. The Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies suggests people update the contact information in their phones so that all numbers have area codes.
Devices that may require updating include life-safety systems or medical monitoring devices, fire or burglar alarms, security systems and gates, speed dialers, phone contact lists, call forwarding, voicemail, fax machines and dial-up internet numbers.