116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Starting Sunday, Oct. 24, Iowans in the 319 and 515 area codes will need to dial all 10 digits of a phone number to make a call.
The new requirement from the Federal Communications Commission makes way for 988, a new three-digit number that will connect callers to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline starting in July 2022.
The two Iowa area codes — which includes Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, Waterloo and Des Moines phone numbers — include some phone numbers that use 988 as the prefix in seven-digit phone numbers.
The national change will affect 82 area codes in 32 states.
Starting Sunday, calls made without the area code may not go through. Instead, callers will hear a recorded reminder to dial phone numbers with the area code.
Local mental health providers previously told The Gazette that people are more likely to remember three-digit numbers, such as 911 or 211. So if they ever face a crisis, advocates hope more people will reach out for help by calling the 988 hotline.
“If you’re having a mental health crisis or you're feeling suicidal, you might not remember the 10-digit 800 number. … But 988 is pretty easy to remember,” Emily Blomme, executive director of Foundation 2 in Cedar Rapids, told The Gazette.
It’s also hoped the hotline will help decrease the stigma around mental health.
In the meantime, people can reach the National Suicide Prevention Hotline by calling 1-(800) 273-TALK.
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