Support hotlines available to help those with holiday stress

WTAP News @ 5 - Support hotlines available to help those with holiday stress
Published: Dec. 11, 2020 at 4:59 PM EST
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - Add holiday stress on top of a pandemic, it’s no wonder some people are going to need some extra support this year.

Officials with First Choice Services, a group specializing in mental health issues, say they’re available 24/7.

They say the holidays can be stressful under normal circumstances, but the pandemic will likely make things worse for many. They’ve already seen an increase in calls to their assistance hotlines.

“So we’re already seeing calls increase quite a bit,” says Director of marketing and communications for First Choice Services, Sheila Moran. “2-1-1 calls have at one point tripled and the Suicide and the Help4WV calls have increased greatly. So, we’re making sure that we have staff 24 hours a day so that they can always answer these lines.”

First Choice Services encourages anyone to call any of the eight lines of service that are available at all times of the day. You can see all of them below along with their information:


Those dealing with anxiety, depression, or COVID-related stress call talk directly to a crisis counselor for free, 24/7. No appointments are necessary. A weekly online support group is also available. Call 1-877-HELP-304, text 1-877-4357-304, or visit for online chat.


Those seeking referrals for mental health or addiction treatment can reach a helpline specialist 24/7. Specialists are trained to provide information and assist with referrals. Most callers are able to receive treatment within 24 hours of their initial call. Children’s crisis services and peer recovery coaching is also available. Call 1-844-HELP-4WV, text 1-844-435-7498, or visit for online chat.


During the pandemic, limited video lottery has had record revenues. Sports betting via a mobile app is now legally available and heavily advertised. This 24/7 helpline offers free, private help for those who are struggling with problem gambling. Telehealth appointments and online support groups are also available. Call 1-800-GAMBLER or visit for online chat.

Suicide Lifeline

Depression and thoughts of suicide have risen during the pandemic. The lifeline is answered by trained, caring professionals who are ready to listen and help support callers experiencing suicidal thoughts or emotional crises. This line can be reached 24/7 by calling 1-800-273-TALK.


Record unemployment has forced many to seek financial assistance to pay their bills or feed their families. First Choice Services partners with the United Ways of West Virginia to offer this 24/7 helpline for those seeking information about local resources to assist with many different emergency needs. Call 211 or 1-833-848-9905, or text your zip code to 898211 or visit for online chat.

Tobacco Quitline

Despite the dangers of COVID, which largely affects the lungs, there is no evidence that smoking or vaping rates are declining. According to the American Lung Association, West Virginia has the highest rate of smoking in the country. The Quitline offers free nicotine replacement therapy (medication, gum, lozenges) and expert advice from Quitline coaches. Help is available Mon-Fri 10 AM-8 PM and Sat-Sun 10 AM-5 PM by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW, texting 304-583-4010, or visiting for online chat, or to complete online enrollment.

WV Navigator

Massive job loss means many have lost their employer-based health insurance. Open enrollment for marketplace health insurance closes December 15. The WV Navigator program offers free, expert assistance choosing a plan. Typically, 86% of callers qualify for a financial subsidy to purchase insurance, and navigators can also enroll callers in WV Medicaid if they qualify. Help is available 8:30 AM-6 PM Mon-Fri. Call 1-844-WV-CARES or visit for online chat.

Jobs & Hope

Finding employment during a pandemic can be difficult, but this service can help. Callers are connected to a specialist who links them with education, training, and employment. Special emphasis is placed on assisting those in recovery who have barriers to employment. This line can be reached 24/7 by calling 1-833-784-1385 or by visiting

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