June Leffler Published

W.Va. Receives Funds For 988 Suicide Hotline

Though there are websites, hotlines, therapists and coaches to help teens manage nicotine cravings, there's been little research to show what works best. Recently, some programs have turned to texting to help kids find resources specific to vaping cessation.

Anyone anywhere in the U.S. can call 911 in case of emergency. This summer, anyone in emotional distress will also be able to dial a simple three digit number: 988. Folks will even be able to text.

Congress mandated this new nationwide suicide prevention hotline number in 2020, which will go live on July 16 of this year. The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources said Thursday it has received a half million dollars in federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) funding.

That is just a fraction of the total cost , according to Lata Menon, who runs First Choice Services. The company will run the state hotline, as it does for the tobacco quit line and other call lines.

With passage of Senate Bill 181 this year, the state has committed to funding the hotline, likely through more federal grants. Menon said federal estimates say it will take $1.8 million a year to run the state line.

Anyone needing help now, before the new number is available, can call 800-273-8255 or 800-273-TALK.

Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting with support from Charleston Area Medical Center and Marshall Health.