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Docket number: UT-200753
988 Suicide Prevention Lifeline number launches July 16
Callers can reach help quickly; area codes required in all Washington calls
LACEY, Wash. – Starting July 16, callers can reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by dialing 988, and calls placed without an area code will no longer work in Washington.
To make it easier for people to access help during times of crisis, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) designated 988 as a new three-digit dialing code to connect callers to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. While some areas may be currently able to connect to the Lifeline by dialing 988, this dialing code is now available to everyone across the United States starting on July 16.
To help prepare for this change, in October 2021 telecommunications companies in Eastern Washington implemented dialing changes, requiring callers to include the three-digit area code when placing a call. Western Washington already made this switch in 2017. Callers in Eastern Washington without landlines or other affected devices may not have noticed the change, but now all calls placed in Washington must include the area code.
These changes will not affect the price of calls, coverage areas, whether a call is local or long-distance, rates and services, or any other existing three-digit lines such as 911, 711, and 211.
Callers will still be able to reach the Lifeline via the existing number 1-800-273-8255 (TALK).
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in the U.S.
The UTC regulates the rates and services of telecommunications companies, investor-owned electric utilities, natural gas and water companies, garbage-collection haulers, household-goods movers and passenger transportation companies, commercial ferries, pipeline companies, marine pilotage, and a low-level radioactive waste repository. The commission does not regulate the rates of broadband services, cellular, cable, or Internet service.
Editor’s note: Information about this change is available at www.utc.wa.gov/988.
More information about the National Suicide Prevention Hotline is available at its website www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org.