A change to how Americans can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline will affect the way thousands of Texans dial local numbers, including those of us living here in the 254.

KCBDMyHighPlains.com, and the FCC report that as part of the National Suicide Hotline Improvement Act of 2018, there will be a three-digit call-in number for the Lifeline.

Think of it like this - you call 9-1-1 to reach emergency services or 2-1-1 to reach Texas Health and Human Services.

Well, now those at risk for suicide will be able to call 988 to get through directly to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. *(If you're currently experiencing a crisis and are feeling like you might harm yourself, you can call the Lifeline at 800-273-8255.)

How does this impact you?

According to the North American Numbering Plan Administrator (NANPA), people living in areas of the country that feature local phone numbers beginning with a 988 prefix will have to start dialing the full 10-digit number when making local calls.

Check out the NANPA list: Texas area code 254 is on it, as are 361, 409, 806, 830, 915, 940.

So, beginning Saturday, April 24, you'll have to dial 254 (or whatever area code you're calling) before you dial up Aunt Becky at 988-XXXX, or make any local call for that matter. If you don't, you'll get the classic recording of, "Dun-nuh-nuh! We're sorry, your call cannot be completed as dialed".

Most of us just tap someone on our Contacts list to call from our cell phones, so you'll want to make sure to update your contacts. If you're dialing from a landline at home or the office, remember to dial the area code starting April 24.

It may be a slight inconvenience, but at least there's an effort being made to ensure people in crisis can dial a quick, simple number for help and not tie up 9-1-1.

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