ST. LOUIS — If you need to dial a phone number in the St. Louis area, be prepared to press a few extra digits beginning this year.
Mandatory 10-digit dialing will start to be phased in next month for people in 37 states and 83 area codes. This change includes a big part of the greater St. Louis area, including 314 and 618.
Missouri area codes impacted:
Illinois area codes impacted:
All people living in those area codes will have to dial 10 digits for local calls to go through. See a full list of area codes impacted nationwide on the North American Numbering Plan Administrator website.
The change will be phased in beginning April 24. Customers should start dialing all 10 numbers beginning then, but if only seven digits are dialed, the call will still go through. Beginning Oct. 24, 2021, callers must dial the area code and the phone number for local calls. Otherwise, a recording will say the call cannot be completed as dialed.
The transition to 10-digit dialing is necessary to help people easily reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s new three-digit number. Last July, the Federal Communications Commission approved “988” as the three-digit number Americans can call to connect with suicide prevention and mental health crisis counselors. It works similar to dialing 911.
The new rule requires phone providers to direct all 988 calls to one of the 170 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline crisis centers by July 16, 2022. For now, Americans needing to reach the group should continue to call 1-800-273-TALK (8255).