Guam telecom carriers have have joined in the effort to remind customers of the new 10-digit dialing procedure taking place on Oct. 24.

The Federal Communications Commission has designated 988 as the service number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline effective July 16, 2022.

As a result, starting Oct. 24, all local phone calls on Guam must include the 671-area code.

Right now, if someone in need of Suicide Prevention Lifeline services wanted to ask for help, they would have to dial 1-800-273-8255 to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. A number too long to remember in times of crisis. Beginning July 2022, when someone has an urgent mental health need, they can call just three digits - “988" - similar to “911” for police, fire or rescue emergencies.

To make this possible, all area codes within the United States that have phone numbers beginning with “988” will now require the area code to be dialed first, followed by the local telephone number (for example: 671-988-XXXX). This prevents calls to the National Suicide Lifeline from being automatically triggered and placed.

Guam is among 82 area codes that need to make this local call transition. By Oct. 24, all phone numbers will remain the same, but “671” will have to be entered at the beginning.

In a joint effort, all Guam’s service providers have supplied constant reminders through in-store flyers, social medial content, company websites and advertisements since June. By Oct. 24, calls dialed in Guam without the “671” prefix will receive an error message prompting the caller to try again.

Some helpful tips to navigate through this change:

• Go through your contact list and add “671” in the beginning of all local phone numbers.

• Reprogram all numbers on life safety systems or medical monitoring devices, PBXs, fax machines, internet dial-up numbers, fire or burglar alarms and security systems or gates.

•  For business customers, be sure to check websites, personal and business stationery, advertising materials, personal and business checks for contact information and other such items to ensure the area code is included.

For more information on the 988 project at Guam Behavioral Health and Wellness Center, contact Joleen Respicio, project director, at 671-482-7679.

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