The change is due to a decision made by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) last summer. On July 16, 2020, the FCC adopted rules to establish 9-8-8 as the new, nationwide phone number for Americans in crisis to connect with suicide prevention and mental health crisis counselors.
To ensure that calls to 988 reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, all covered providers are required to implement 10-digit dialing in areas that both use seven-digit dialing and 988 as the first three numbers in seven-digit phone numbers. Delaware is one of the areas with a 988 exchange.
Timeline for transition to 10-Digit Dialing:
- Beginning April 24, 2021, to begin to become accustomed to 10-digit dialing, consumers should begin dialing 10 digits (3-digit area code + 7-digit telephone number) for all local calls. If they forget and dial just 7 digits, their call will still be completed.
- Beginning October 24, 2021, consumers must dial 10-digits (area code + telephone number) for all local calls. On and after this date, local calls dialed with only 7 digits may not be completed, and a recording will inform you that your call cannot be completed as dialed. Consumers must hang up and dial again using the area code and the 7-digit number.
- Beginning July 16, 2022, dialing “988” will route calls to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Call 1-800-273-8255 to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline today.