WV Addiction Helpline celebrates 5 year anniversary

WEST VIRGINIA (WOAY) – Help4WV, WV’s Mental Health and Addiction Helpline, recently celebrated its fifth anniversary. Over 50,000 West Virginians have been helped by the program. 

The program acts as a “one-stop-shop” for anyone in the state seeking treatment for mental health or addiction. It was developed in 2015 when a series of task force meetings identified that community members felt treatment was difficult to access and navigate.   Those needing help said they weren’t sure which type of treatment they needed, where it was, or how to get it. 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.

Brittany Shawver, Program Director for HELP4WV, says 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. She said, “People who call us today have many more options than they did five years ago. 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. 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.”

Calls have continued to increase over the years and last month the program had its busiest ever month, with nearly 1200 people seeking help.  Callers to the helpline are immediately connected to a Helpline Specialist who assesses their needs and provides referrals and follow-up.  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 at www.Help4WV.com.

Tyler Barker
Tyler Barker is currently the News Director and Digital Content Manager for WOAY-TV. He was promoted to this job in Mid-November. He still will fill in on weather from time to time. You can follow Tyler on Facebook and Twitter @wxtylerb. Have any news tips or weather questions? Email him at tbarker@woay.com