Calls to HELP4WV, West Virginia’s mental health & addiction helpline, rise in pandemic

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — September is being recorded as a record month for calls to West Virginia’s mental health and addiction helpline, HELP4WV.

Nearly 1,200 calls and texts for assistance came in last month to 1-844-HELP4WV, 1-844-435-7498.

Brittany Shawver, HELP4WV program director, said they were projecting continued increased demand for referral and other services designed to make treatment more accessible.

“We are expecting to receive more calls as this year ends and next year begins,” Shawver said.

The helpline is answered 24/7.

A chat option is also available at

HELP4WV is dedicated to those seeking treatment for mental health or substance use disorder.

Referrals can be made for outpatient and inpatient treatment centers; withdrawal management; psychological counseling; medication-assisted treatment; peer support and online treatment options or other services utilizing the growing HELP4WV database.

In some cases, transportation for treatment can be arranged.

Shawver said nearly half of the staff members answering calls and texts for HELP4WV have personal experience because they are in recovery themselves and started that journey by reaching out to the helpline.

“Whenever a caller calls into us, we actually help them with every step of the way. We don’t just give a phone number and then let them go, we make sure that we can get somebody on the other line,” Shawver said.

HELP4WV recently marked its fifth anniversary.

The service, which is run through First Choice Services, launched in September 2015.

In the time since then, “There’s been a lot of programs, new programs, that have taken off so we’re able to refer there, so that has been tremendous just because there are more options for folks,” Shawver said.

In all, estimates from HELP4WV indicated the referral line had assisted with more than 50,000 referrals during its years in operation.

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