During today’s Open Meeting, the FCC gave voice service providers two years to implement “988” as the designated national abbreviated dialing code to be used exclusively for access to the national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline system. The Report and Order also spells out the implementation details of this new national dialing code.

The FCC, which was directed to establish this three-digit code under the National Suicide Hotline Improvement Act of 2018, believes 988 will help increase the effectiveness of suicide prevention efforts, ease access to crisis services, and ultimately save lives (See JSI’s Dec. 12, 2019, e-Lert for more information). Under the Report & Order, all voice service providers are required to:

  • Implement 988 within their networks by July 16, 2022;
  • Transmit calls initiated by dialing 988 to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 (1-800-273-TALK); and
  • Implement 10-digit dialing in areas that both use seven-digit dialing and use 988 as the first three numbers in seven-digit phone numbers.

JSI, as a member of the North American Numbering Council (NANC), participated on the working group charged with determining the best code to use for the hotline. The working group met countless days and hours to select this short, memorable number that will make a big difference in the lives of many. We encourage all clients to begin to educate their staff and customers on this extremely important new code.

JSI will share more information as the industry begins working on 988 implementation and the necessary consumer education efforts that will be a big part of this process. In the interim, please contact Bridget Alexander White in JSI’s Maryland office at 301-459-7590 with any questions.

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