Help is available for people struggling with mental health

September is Suicide Prevention Month

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – In today’s environment of social and economic difficulties, many people find themselves struggling with mental health. Resources are available through both WVU Medicine and partner organizations to help provide access to suicide prevention resources. Suicide Prevention Month

According to the most recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, 354 West Virginians died by suicide in 2020. West Virginia has the 10th highest suicide incidence in the nation.

“We’re very fortunate here to have a lot of great programs that focus on the preventive and connective portions of mental health,” Lisa Price, WVU Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute Department of Behavioral Medicine and Psychiatry Healthy Minds – Clarksburg services director, said. “We are able to connect parents, families, and individuals with the services that are appropriate for them.”

Healthy Minds – Clarksburg provides follow-up care to those in a 13-county area in North Central West Virginia who have attempted suicide, ensuring they are connected with the mental health and community services they need. In the event a person completes a suicide, resources are also provided to friends and family to help them cope with the loss and the trauma of the aftermath. 

“While we primarily cover the youth side of these services, we also partner with West Virginia Prevention Solutions, which covers the adult end for the same area,” Price said. “Often, people who are unsuccessful in completing a suicide will try again, so we want to pool around them and help them, so they don’t feel the need to complete.”

In addition to directly connecting patients and families to services, Healthy Minds – Clarksburg has a suicide intervention prevention professional that provides training to schools and community organizations.

The 988 crisis line is available by phone, online chat, or text to immediately connect anyone in crisis with a trained crisis counselor. These counselors help people through the immediate issue, then provide a connection a local crisis team. There is currently a child crisis team that serves the 13-county area, and an adult crisis team will be available in the near future.

988 is managed by First Choice Services, headquartered in the southern part of the state, which gathers information about the individual’s location and connects them with services near them.

“You’re marrying the immediacy that technology can bring us with the personal touch that, if the person is willing, can take them to the next level of care,” Price said.

The 988 crisis line can also help individuals who are not in active crisis find local mental health resources before the need becomes immediate.

“We help people make contact with someone they would be very comfortable with,” Price said. “This can include scheduling them with a male or female provider or assuring them that what they share will be kept confidential.”

The Healthy Minds – Clarksburg Family Coordination Program helps families with younger children and adolescents connect better as a family. This program provides parents with tools to have more or stronger parenting skills and helps children understand how to communicate their needs to have them met. These programs can go beyond education to connect families with clinical treatment.

Healthy Minds – Clarksburg services also employs a peer recovery coach to help youth and adolescents struggling with substance abuse.

“Research has shown us that not all overdoses are accidental, and some may be purposeful,” Price said. “We have a team of peer recovery coaches who work with inmates at the North Central Regional Jail, Jobs and Hope transition agents, and the WVU Medicine United Hospital Center Emergency Department to help make people make the mental health connections to receive the treatment they need.”

West Virginia Suicide Prevention hotlines:

  • Children’s Mobile Crisis (adult services to open soon) – 1-844-985-4371
  • Suicide and Crisis Lifeline – 988
  • Help 304 Emotional Strength Line, providing stress management strategies, community resources, and referrals – 1-877-HELP-304
  • Help 4WV, providing immediate help for those struggling with addiction or mental health issues – 1-844-HELP-4WV

To learn more about the mental health services available at the WVU Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute Department of Behavioral Medicine Healthy Minds – Clarksburg or if you or a loved one need mental health services, please call 304-622-5661.