WILLIAMSON – Heather McDaniel, Program Director for Health First, presented at the Community Forum for Synthetic Drugs at the Williamson Fire Station Tuesday to promote the new substance abuse and mental health helpline: HELP4WV.
The program was launched on Sept. 9 with the help of W.Va. Governor Earl Ray Tomblin and offers the state a 24 hour help line for those struggling with substance abuse. The program is connected with 800 resources throughout the state.
McDaniel explained that when callers use the helpline, they never have to deal with an automated system. “We are set up to help people navigate the substance abuse and mental health system. They can call us, let us know what is going on with them, what kind of problem they are having and we can connect them with providers while they are on the phone with us. We don’t put them on hold; they never get a voice mail. They always get a person; 24 hours a day,” McDaniel said.
“We found that if we do that; success rate increases and the likely hood of that person keeping an appointment increase. A lot of people are just happy to talk to a person. They aren’t getting transferred between five or six people. For a lot of people; that’s huge. Most of you know, the window of opportunity to get someone into treatment is very small,” McDaniel continued.
Once someone calls the helpline, follow-up is provided to ensure those seeking help are receiving the assistance they need. McDaniel said, “Another big thing that we do is follow up with folks. When we talk to someone, we follow up within 48 hours if they are okay with that. When we call at 48 hours, we ask permission to call again in a week. We follow up at a week, a month and three months. We want to call them back and see if they made it to scheduled appointments and if not, what was the reason? What was the barrier that you didn’t go?”
The program offers peer support to callers. “It is peer ran line. We have peer resource folks that are in recovery and have been through extensive training. Some people just need to talk to someone that has been through it. There are clinical supervisors that are always on call,” McDaniel said.
A variety of platforms are available through the program to offer those needing assistance a means of connecting that they are comfortable with. “You can actually the text the helpline number. Some people aren’t comfortable talking on the phone, so there is always someone available to answer that text. On our website you can chat, Facebook or twitter. There are a variety of ways to get in touch with us,” McDaniel explained.
For more information, call or text 1-844-7498 or visit the website HELP4WV.com.
(Courtney Pigman is a news reporter for the Williamson Daily News. She can be contacted at [email protected], or at 304-235-47242, ext. 2279.)