TDS hosts press conference on National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline
The new three-digit number, 988, to call, text or chat to the National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is now operational. The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential help for people in emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Along with all telecommunications carriers and interconnected VoIP providers in every state, TDS was required to build the infrastructure for 10-digit dialing and to implement 988 in all our networks. To educate the public about the upcoming change, TDS Telecommunications LLC (TDS®) hosted a press conference on Friday, July 15, 2022 with several dignitaries who were key partners to enact this new easy to remember number.
Both Shane West, Senior Vice President of Network Operations for TDS, and Paul Nejedlo, Senior Administrator of Number Management at TDS, and a member of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) North American Numbering Council, spoke to the media as well.
“The move to 988 was more than just a flip of a switch,” said West. “I want to acknowledge and thank Paul Nejedlo on a job well done. Our TDS teams spent the last two years, and more than 500 hours working to meet this deadline. Last month, we accomplished this goal and completed the work ahead of the July 16, 2022, deadline.”
For the past two years, Nejedlo has been attending monthly industry calls. “The process involved a lot of moving parts, but I am so pleased we were able to complete this project ahead of schedule,” Nejedlol said. “Recently, we have been working with a variety of TDS teams to make sure our customers are informed about 988, including blogs, bill inserts, and educational columns. This is a very important step to reduce the stigma of mental health, which will hopefully mean more people will seek help when needed.”
For more information on the 988 National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, click here.
TDS' Kathy Cefalu, vice president – Chief Human Resources Officer, served as the master of cermonies during the press conference. Also speaking were:
U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin) - Introduced the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act to create the three-digit phone number of 988 for the National Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Crisis Hotline.
Karen Timberlake, Wisconsin Department of Health Services Secretary-designee
Mary Kolar, Secretary, Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs