CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – In August, First Choice Services created Help304. It’s a hotline specifically for West Virginians who need emotional support during this time or anyone feeling COVID-related stress.
Since August, the hotline has received more than 500 calls. Experts say that’s a lot.
Director of Marketing and Communications at First Choice Services Shelia Moran says a common theme she sees in calls is loneliness.
“A lot of people are just really disconnected from their families and although there is some hope with the vaccine, they’re still looking ahead to a long road ahead and really wanting things to get back to normal,” Moran said.
The hotline is well staffed and available 24 hours a day. It’s also completely anonymous for those worried about calling.
“Studies have been clear that depression and anxiety have really increased during the pandemic and I think so many people are dealing with this now,” Moran said.
To try to combat the loneliness during this time, Moran says there are some ways to boost your mood.
“Spend less time on social media where things maybe aren’t as real or personal and more time making personal connections – calling, texting your friends, your neighbors,” Moran said.
If people don’t want to call, free choice services has also started an online support group every week.
“So, through this support group we’re able to connect people who call us and have a counselor sit in and facilitate the group,” Moran said.
In addition to calling, you can also text the hotline number for help or go online and chat at help304.com.