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Mental health and addiction helpline see’s increase in calls, reaches over 50,000 by fifth anniversary

Published: Oct. 6, 2020 at 7:02 PM EDT
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W.Va (WDTV) - Help4WV has been helping those in the state seek treatment for mental health or addiction. They’ve helped over 50,000 people and accomplished the milestone just in time for their fifth anniversary.

Close to 200 of those have come from counties in the north central area, but the director of marketing and communications, Sheila Moran, said the number is higher more than likely as most people don’t provide them with their address.

“It’s a lot but we’re glad that it’s needed,” Moran said. “Overdoses continue to be a major issue in the state so we’re glad to be a resource.”

The resource is one addicts can find comfort in. According to a news release, nearly half of the HELP4WV staff is in recovery themselves with several having started their journey into recovery by calling the helpline while in active addiction and seeking help locating treatment.

Also in the release, Brittany Shawver, Program Director for HELP4WV, said that over the past five years there have been many improvements to the treatment system in West Virginia. Before the program, she notes that those seeking treatment spent a great deal of time searching for treatment on their own, often not finding it, and sometimes getting treatment that didn’t match their needs.

“People who call us today have many more options than they did five years ago,” Shawver said. “Several new outpatient and inpatient treatment centers have opened, and we can even arrange transportation in many cases. Receiving medication to assist in treatment is now quite common,” she said.

“Peer Support from someone in long term recovery is widely available and very effective. Online treatment options are abundant, and we offer all our callers the ability to be part of the Connections Recovery App, which provides e-therapy and has been proven to improve outcomes.”

Callers to the helpline are immediately connected to a Helpline Specialist who assesses their needs and provides referrals and follow-up, according to the release.  There are over 1,000 resources in the HELP4WV database, including withdrawal management, psychological counseling, medication-assisted treatment, support groups, and residential treatment. The helpline is available 24/7 and it can be accessed by calling 1-844-HELP4WV, by texting 1-844-435-7498, or by chatting online.

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