24-hour crisis hotline for children and parents

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CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — Mental illness among adults has come to the forefront in 2020…but what about children’s mental health?

“How can they get help for their child,” said Sheila Moran, the communications director for First Choice Services. A question many parents ask when dealing with mental health.

“Most of the calls we have about adults, but what we are seeing is there is a need for this sort of service for children as well,” said Moran.

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, or DHHR, partnered with First Choice Services to create a Children’s Crisis and Referral Line.

“Here in West Virginia, we have an issue with a lot of kids being placed out of the home. And sometimes that’s due to issues that start in the home that could possibly be resolved with early intervention,” said Moran.

And early intervention has never been more important.

“There has been an increase in children, especially teenagers, in particular, struggling this past year,” said Dr. Jocelyn Brown, Psychologist at CAMC.

According to the Child Mind Institute 2020 report, more than two-thirds of parents who sought out help since the pandemic began said they had witnessed a decline in their child’s emotional well being.

With closed schools and stressed out parents with job loss or uncertain income, children are being new burdens.

“Just having difficulty adjusting to all of the changes to routine. They go to school in person, and then the county turns orange or red and they are back to remote learning,” said Dr. Brown.

The DHHR’s Children Crisis Line has over 60 call responders to assist children with mental health needs.

“Not sure what sort of help is available to treat their child in their home. So we are able to pretty quickly find the type of help they need,” said Moran.

The Children’s Crisis and Referal Line is available 24-hours a day for phone calls, texts, and online messaging.

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