Pitkin County phone users need to start dialing all 10 digits in a number | AspenTimes.com

Pitkin County phone users need to start dialing all 10 digits in a number

Switch to 10-digit numbers started Sunday and helps clear the way for a National Suicide Hotline

In the old days, you could reach a neighbor by dialing just four or five digits. As of Sunday, everyone in the 970 area code has to dial all 10 digits in a phone number.

The change in Colorado is part of a national switch that will enable the national rollout of 988, which will be the National Suicide Hotline. That number will take callers to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, which will go live July 16, 2022.

That’s a big step in national and local suicide prevention efforts.

Erin Ivie is the executive director of SpeakUp ReachOut, the Eagle County-based suicide prevention group.

“The transition to 988 as the new suicide prevention lifeline is a huge step in helping end stigma towards those seeking and accessing mental health care,” Ivie wrote in an email. “This new crisis line will help ensure that callers are connected to a trained professional who can address their immediate need and reduce the use of law enforcement resources in a mental health crisis response.”

Ivie added that 988 is not yet active and callers should still use 800-273-8255.

James Cullen, a spokesperson for the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies, wrote in an email that the switch to 10-digit dialing is due to the fact there are some phone numbers that begin with 988. Dialing the area code plus the seven-digit number will allow use of the national number.

The new requirement won’t affect calls to 911, the emergency public safety number.

While Colorado’s 970 and 719 area codes are switched starting this week to 10-digit dialing, users in the state’s 303 and 720 area codes, which mostly cover the Denver metropolitan area, have long had to use all 10 digits in a phone number.

The gradual changeover began April 24 with a transitional time when consumers could dial seven or 10 digits.

According to Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies officials, 37 states and 83 area codes are impacted by this month’s change to mandatory 10-digit dialing. More information is available at FCC.gov/suicide-prevention-hotline.