Caroline MacGregor Published

W.Va. Receives More Than 850 Calls To New Suicide Prevention Call Line

Suicidal thoughts are common in teenagers, and suicide is the second highest cause of death, after car crashes and other unintentional injuries.

West Virginia recently switched to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number. The easy to remember three digit number has since proven successful.

As of Tuesday, Aug. 9, the new 988 suicide and crisis lifeline had received 855 calls.

Christina Mullins, commissioner of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) Bureau for Behavioral Health, said she is pleased with what she termed a “modest” increase in calls for help.

“I think what is really important and a good sign of the transition itself is that our answer rate for July was at 93 percent to keeping our calls in-state so we have a better chance of connecting our residents to in-state resources.”

The number serves as a universal entry point to immediately connect people in distress with a trained crisis counselor. With options for voice calls, chat and text — the line is easily accessible.

The state also offers mobile crisis services for children and crisis teams for adults. As the state reimagines its crisis response system, Mullins said the next step is finding a physical location to send people who need help to, such as a walk-in urgent care center for mental health.