513, 859 area codes change to 10-digit dialing to make room for mental health hotline
513, 859 area codes change to 10-digit dialing to make room for mental health hotline (WKRC)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - Starting Sunday, callers in the 513 and 859 area codes will change to 10-digit dialing. It's making room for a new nationwide three-digit phone number that will go directly to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

In July of 2020, the FCC adopted 988 as the three-digit phone number.

It's a quick way for people who are experiencing a mental health crisis to get help.

988 calls won’t be routed to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline until July of 2022, but the 10-digit dialing system is starting ahead of time.

The change is impacting people in different parts of the country.

The FCC said there are 82 area codes in 35 states and one U.S. territory that currently use 988 as their local exchange and allow seven-digit dialing.

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This change is coming to make sure everyone can easily reach 988.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness is a big advocate of the decision.

Katie Harper is the acting executive director for NAMI of Southwest Ohio. She said this is vital and life-changing.

"We know that when people call 911 in the past, between 2015-2020, one in four police shootings involved a person with a mental illness," she said. "While we have these mobile crisis units and we are moving toward that, that’s great, but it’s going to be so wonderful to have a place that people can call and take the danger out of the situation for everyone involved."

During the transition to 988, people who need help can call the hotline at 1-800-273-TALK.

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