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New phone rule for dialing local calls creates space for future crisis emergency number

Published: Oct. 25, 2021 at 3:44 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Starting this week, if you want to make a local phone call, you have to dial all 10 digits.

This is going to be a huge change for those with landlines.

“They want to get the communities ready for this change so that they won’t be mistakenly dialing 988 for suicide prevention,“ explained Scott Osiecki, with the ADAMHS Board of Cuyahoga County.

Starting next year, you can contact the new suicide crisis line just by dialing 988.

“It’s really a great chance for the community. It’s much easier to remember a three-digit number than having to dial a 10-digit number,” said Osiecki.

This is where things get tricky.

In Northeast Ohio, we have places that have 988 as a part of their phone numbers.

And soon, if you don’t dial all 10 digits, you could get routed to the hotline, taking up space from people trying to get help and leaving some business owners losing calls for their services.

Just last year, the Cuyahoga Crisis Center received more than 91,000 calls to the suicide line, a number they expect to go up this year.

“People are now coming out of the pandemic. It has long-lasting effects on folks with the isolation we had, the sudden change that was added on to that, so there’s a stress factor,” said Osiecki.

Osiecki suggests we all use this time to get in the habit of dialing all 10 numbers. Callers shouldn’t want to get in the way of someone getting the help that could be the difference between life and death.

It could save your life, or the life of a loved one. Help is out there, anyplace, anytime.

Call the National Suicide Hotline at 800-273-8255. Or you talk to someone right here in Cuyahoga County at 216-623-6888.

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