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Making local phone calls should now include area codes

Starting Saturday, even local phone calls being made should include all 10 digits, using the area code. For a few more months, local calls will still go through with only seven digits; but in the fall, that will no long hold true.

The change to 10-digit dialing is necessary to help people easily reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s new three-digit number, 988. Last July, the Federal Communications Commission approved that number for Americans can call to connect with suicide prevention and mental health crisis counselors.

The number works similar to the way people call 911.  

Missouri area codes impacted are 314, 417, 660 and 816; the nearby 618 area code in Illinois is also affected. Those areas use 988 as the first three numbers in some of their seven-digit phone numbers.

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.

Then, beginning July 16, 2022, dialing 988 will route calls to the  National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. For now, Americans needing to reach the group should continue to call 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

More information about the 10-digit dialing change in Missouri is available on the state’s Public Service Commission website at

Staff is home to The NorthSider and The SouthSider weekly community newspapers. The SouthSider publishes 25,000 copies every Tuesday. The NorthSider publishes 25,000 copies every Thursday. They are distributed at over 600 locations across St. Louis.

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