Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal
Get your fingers ready to start dialing 505 and 575 much more often.
Starting later this year, New Mexico is switching over to a mandatory 10-digit dialing system to support a new three-digit service number for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, which launches next year, according to Sarah Valencia, spokeswoman for the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission.
This means that, starting Oct. 24, all phone calls must include a three-digit area code, Valencia said. And until then, callers should begin placing calls with the full 10 digits as practice.
Although callers will have to dial three additional numbers, this change does not affect pricing, rates, services, distance calls, local calls or other three-digit service telephone numbers like 911 or 311, according to a NMPRC information guide.
“It’s going to be a great service to have the Suicide Prevention Hotline, because I know that, especially in the last year, it’s been really difficult,” Valencia said. “… The big picture is that we’re doing this to save lives.”
The change in dialing systems will require some changes, like reprogramming any equipment that uses the seven-digit dialing system such as medical monitoring devices, security systems, call forwarding settings and business telephone systems.
Cellphone users who dial directly from their contacts lists will need to make sure those numbers now include area codes.
The guide also advises callers to check websites, pet ID tags, business cards and other places where telephone numbers are included to ensure that the full 10-digit number is present.
The new hotline number, 988, necessitates all callers in the country to use 10-digit numbers since 988 is already assigned to callers as a working prefix, according to the guide.
Valencia said the Federal Communications Commission will implement the new National Suicide Prevention Hotline number on July 16, 2022.
Molly McCoy Brack, Agora Crisis Center director, said that the creation of a three-digit crisis number is something that mental health advocates have been talking about for years. The launch of the number also coincides with new programming designed to help New Mexicans in crisis.