Why can’t I make a phone call?

Courtesy photo

SPEARFISH — “We’re sorry. Your call did not go through. Please hang up and try again.”

If you’ve received that message in the last several days and are at a loss as to why, we have the answer.

It is because the Federal Communications Commission is phasing out seven-digit calling to accommodate for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Previously, people calling the line needed to dial, 1-800-273-8255 (1-800-273-TALK); however, recognizing that a person in crisis might have a difficult time remembering that 800 number, they implemented “988” an easier number to remember.

According to the FCC, there are 82 area codes in 35 states and one U.S. territory that currently use “988” as the first three digits of the seven-digit dialing.

The 10-digit dialing prevents accidentally dialing the suicide hotline while allowing the thousands of phone numbers associated with the prefix to stay the same.

The transition must be complete by July 15.

To make a local phone call, you must dial the area code, followed by the seven-digit number.

To make a long distance phone call, you must dial 1, the area code, followed by the seven-digit number.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in the United States.

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