West Virginia Department of Human Services observes Mental Health Awareness Month

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Department of Human Services (DoHS), Bureau for Behavioral Health (BBH) unites with agencies across the state and country during Mental Health Awareness Month to emphasize the vital role mental health plays in overall health and well-being.

Governor Jim Justice also proclaimed May as Mental Health Awareness Month in West Virginia.

This year’s national theme, “Where to Start: Mental Health in a Changing World,” acknowledges that dealing with life’s pressures can be overwhelming, and everyone deserves to feel supported and empowered to seek help when needed. Using person-first language can reduce stigma about mental health, and the #BeThe1To campaign provides steps everyone can take to prevent suicide.

“This month, we aim to shine a light on the importance of mental well-being in our communities,” said Christina Mullins, DoHS Deputy Secretary of Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders. “In times of struggle, it’s crucial to utilize the resources available to help our friends, family, and neighbors navigate their journey towards healing and resilience. When we extend compassion and understanding to those in need, West Virginians can bolster one another in difficult times.”

Resources include HELP4WV, which offers a 24/7 call, chat, and text line at 1-844-HELP4WV that provides immediate help for any West Virginian struggling with an addiction or mental health issue. The helpline provides assistance to those who need help themselves, or guidance to those seeking help for loved ones. The Children’s Crisis and Referral Line, a separate source of support provided by HELP4WV, is also available around-the-clock to assist in finding the most appropriate available treatment for youth behavioral health needs.

The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline offers 24/7/365 access to trained crisis counselors who can help those experiencing mental-health related distress including thoughts of suicide, mental health or substance use crisis, or any other kind of emotional distress. Residents can also call or text 988 if they are worried about a loved one who may need crisis support. 988 also serves as the Veterans Crisis Line (press option 1).

DoHS’s BBH also administers a number of programs to promote the behavioral health of children and youth in West Virginia communities through primary prevention and individualized services for mental health, substance use, and intellectual and developmental disabilities. As part of its annual block grant report to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), BBH is seeking feedback on mental health services that West Virginians receive anytime between October 1, 2023, to August 1, 2024. There are three survey options for adults above age 18, youth between ages 12 to 17, and parents of children and youth who receive services.

To view and apply for careers in the behavioral health field, go to dhhr.wv.gov/Pages/Career-Opportunities.aspx.

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