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WV's new suicide hotline could save lives

May 14, 2022 at 12:00 a.m.

With a boost from a federal government grant, it looks as though West Virginia is well on its way to being able to launch its three-digit system for giving those with mental health issues or suicidal thoughts quick access to help. When the state Department of Health and Human Resources launches 988 on July 16, it will truly be a lifeline.

Right now, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline call center based in Charleston answers West Virginia calls to (800) 273-TALK (8255).

"Coming in July, that number is going to be even more accessible," said Sheila Moran, communications and marketing director for First Choice Services. "People will be able to dial simply 988 to reach someone 24 hours a day. So, anyone who is feeling suicidal, or any kind of mental health crisis, can call that line."

According to Our World in Data, hundreds of millions of people worldwide suffer from depression. That is just one of the concerns that could lead someone to a state of crisis. Mental health lifelines are essential in helping people get that help -- and to let them know they are being heard.

We here in Appalachia do not always do the best job of being compassionate, empathetic and willing to talk about mental health. Generational belief in the stigma associated with mental health woes continues to be an issue.

But 988 gives them a way to reach out for help, even easier to remember than today's number. Surely it will save lives; though even one life is worth more than the work done thus far.

-- The Intelligencer, May 9

Print Headline: WV's new suicide hotline could save lives

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