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New era of 10-digit dialing starts Oct. 24

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Staff Reports

If your local call isn’t going through, try adding the area code. Starting Oct. 24, 10-digit dialing will be the norm in New Mexico.

On and after Oct. 24, local calls dialed with only seven digits may not be completed, and a recording may inform you that your call cannot be completed as dialed. If you get this recording, you must hang up and dial again using the area code with the seven-digit telephone number.

This change is necessary as the Federal Communications Commission has mandated 988 as the new three-digit number to route callers to thNational Suicide Prevention Lifeline and Mental Crisis Hotline 1 (800) 273-TALK.  According to the bipartisan National Suicide Hotline Designation Act, telephone service providers must have this routing in place by July 15, 2022. Some phone carriers in the state (like Verizon and T-Mobile) have already implemented the routing for 988.

“The 988 three-digit will be used to make critical mental health resources available to anyone who needs assistance,”  Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said. “While the 911 system is dedicated to public safety emergencies, the launch of the 988 hotline gives people an easy-to-remember number to call for focused support during behavioral health emergencies.”

The three-digit crisis number 988 is not yet active across all communications access points in the U. S. Until it is, callers can access services by dialing 1 (800) 273-TALK (8255) to be connected to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

New Mexico already has the New Mexico Crisis and Access Line 1 (855) 662-7474 and Agora Crisis Center 1 (855) 505-4505 accredited and answering calls from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

“It’s a minor inconvenience to reprogram the area code 505 or 575 in our phones, but it will make a huge difference if it will save a life and someone can call 988 when they’re having a mental health crisis,” Dr. David Scrase, cabinet secretary for the New Mexico Human Services Department and acting secretary for the New Mexico Department of Health, said.

“There’s been a great need for 988 for years,” Dr. Neal Bowen, director for the Behavioral Health Services Division at the New Mexico Human Services Department, said. Bowen said the state is working with partners at the 911 public safety answering points, New Mexico Crisis and Access Line, Agora Crisis Center, and OpenBeds, a New Mexico behavioral health referral network, a provider of a technology platform that identifies, unifies, and tracks behavioral health and social services resources, to facilitate rapid digital referrals.

“We are also mapping out the development of more mobile crisis and behavioral health-oriented triage response centers throughout our state,” Bowen said.

“By implementing 988 into our communities, it allows people that choice to determine if they need to call 911 for police or fire to respond, or if they need a mental health conversation or a mental health response which will be available by dialing 988,” Wendy Linebrink-Allison, program manager for ProtoCall Services, Inc., which runs the state-funded crisis lines and warmline, said.

The Human Services Department provides services and benefits to 1,042,799 New Mexicans through several programs including: the Medicaid Program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program, SNAP, Child Support Program, and several Behavioral Health Services.

For more information on 10-digit dialing, contact the FCC. For more information about the Lifeline and 988, visit vibrant.org/988.