A new nationwide phone number for mental health and suicide prevention will force the transition for Wisconsin to ten-digit dialing.  That number - 988 - will be fully-functional in July 2022.  However in order to make way for the 3-digit dialing in the nations infrastructure, the switch-over has begun already.  The move affects both landline and cellphone calls.

Since the inception of the current phone system, residents in Wisconsin were still able to place local calls - those within the same area code - without dialing the area code; only the seven digits were needed.  While there were sporadic cells of local municipalities that required full ten-digit calling (including the area code) due to their prefix running out of available numbers, most local calls throughout the state were dialed with the last seven-digits.

The move will affect all area codes in the state of Wisconsin; according to details released by news sources, the six codes in Wisconsin are affected:  262, 414, 534, 608, 715, and 920.  Additionally, 24 other states that have not already switched their call-dialing over will also make the move to ten-digit calls.

Although the hard deadline for the new 988 number isn't until July 2022, Wisconsin phone companies have made October 23, 2021 their deadline for the transition.  Ahead of that time, they are urging residents to start placing all of their calls using the full ten-digits (area code, prefix, and suffix) to get used to it.  Currently, the phone system in Wisconsin will allow for both options for local calls - both those with and those without the full ten-digits.

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One item that Wisconsin phone owners might want to consider right now is re-programming their phones in advance of the change.  If you have a landline phone - and especially a cellphone - that saves numbers to a convenience menu, now might be a good time to go in and edit that number to include the area code so that it will work come this fall.

Until 988 is active next year, the Federal Communications Commission is urging people needing the suicide prevention and mental health hotline to call the existing number:  1-800, 273-8255 (800-273-TALK).

Here are some tips for self-care during the pandemic:

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