Coming in 2022: 988 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Posted on Mar 25, 2021 in Hot Topics


The Federal Communications Commission has recently adopted rules designating this new phone number for Americans in crisis to connect with suicide prevention and mental health crisis counselors.

The transition, which will take place over the next two years, will result in phone service providers directing all 988 calls to the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by July 16, 2022. Under the new rules, calls to 988 will be directed to 1-800-273-TALK, which will remain operational during and after the 988 transition.

Hawaii is among more than 30 states that use the 988 prefix, and so must transition to 10-digit dialing for local calls. Starting Oct. 24, 2021 Hawaii residents will need to dial area code 8-0-8, followed by the telephone number. Following this change, local calls dialed with only seven digits may not be completed, and a recording will inform you that your call cannot be completed as dialed.

Residents should consider automatic and speed dialing equipment, such as medical monitoring devices, fax machines, internet dial-up numbers, fire or burglar alarm and security systems or gates once the change goes in effect. These will need to be reprogrammed to include the full 10-digit number. It is also recommended that cell phone users to manually change their contact numbers to add the area code.

Until July 16, 2022, customers must continue to dial 1-800-273-TALK to reach the National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Lifeline. Starting July 16, 2022 dialing 9-8-8 will automatically route your call to the Lifeline.