The WV DHHR received a federal grant from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in order to prepare for the transition of the National Suicide Prevention Hotline to a new three digit number (988), which will be effective of July 16, 2022. These funds will contribute to WV’s National Suicide Prevention Lifeline call center which will answer calls that come into the Lifeline, this also include the Veterans Crisis Line.
Effective July 16, 2022, the 988 dialing code will replace the current hotline number, 1-800-273-8255. West Virginians in need of help should continue to call this number until July 16, 2022. This Lifeline accepts calls from anyone experiencing suicidal crisis or mental health-related distress.
The state of WV is in the top five states for its National Suicide Prevention Lifeline call center answer rates, answering at least 90% of calls within West Virginia. According to Christina Mullins, Commissioner of DHHR’s Bureau for Behavioral Health, “Roughly 75 to 80 percent of calls help de-escalate and provide support without further crisis intervention needed." According to the National Institute of Mental Health, elder adults make up 12% of the population, BUT they make up 18% of suicides. Men that are 65 and older face the highest overall rates of suicide.
We care about our seniors and West Virginia Senior Legal Aid is dedicated to providing legal assistance that promotes the mental health of every senior. Any senior West Virginian age 60 or over who may need legal advice can call us at 1-800-229-5068 to speak to a lawyer for free.
contributed by Katie McCausley, Public Interest Law Fellow at WVSLA