CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – In 2020, there was almost one call made a day, from a child, to a West Virginia suicide hotline.
“Those that gave their age – and keep in mind most don’t give their age – but of those who did, about 300 were under age 18,” said Sheila Moran, with First Choice Services. “And that’s just here in West Virginia in the last year.”
“Kids in this state really struggle with mental health,” Moran continued. “I mean kids everywhere do, but kids here in West Virginia in particular. We see the statistics….”
Suicide is now the 2nd leading cause of death for ages 10-34 in the Mountain State; and the pandemic is not making life any easier.
Moran has been working with First Choice Services for over 20 years, and says the month of July in 2020 was the busiest month they’ve ever had on that helpline.
And a big increase in calls might seem like a bad thing… but it really isn’t. Because this means people are getting the help they need, before it’s too late.
“Suicide is not an inevitable response to this pandemic,” said Barri Faucett, director of Prevent Suicide WV. “We all have increased anxiety and depression but we all can reach out and get the help we need.
“It’s okay to not be okay. It’s not okay to stay there,” Faucett continued. “So you do need to reach out and get some help if you’re starting to notice your behaviors or thoughts are different, and you’re feeling negative towards yourself.”
And the most important thing to remember – suicide is preventable.
“It’s always important to find a trusted adult in your life who can help,” said Moran. “And that may be your parent, it may be your aunt, or a school teacher or school counselor. But just having that person in your corner who knows that you’re going through this. Someone to check on ya. Someone to help you through this. That’s very important too.”
If you are struggling with anxiety, depression, or suicidal thoughts, call 1-800-273-TALK. And lean on those around you too.