CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – A number like 911 is easy to remember, and it gets you help in an emergency. Now, there’s a new number to remember if you’re having an emotional crisis.
Starting July 16, 988 will become the newest emergency number to connect directly to a crisis counselor if you’re experiencing suicidal thoughts.
West-Virginia-based organization First Choice Services will be on the other side for any West Virginia callers who may be in a time of need.
The center will also become a back-up to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline if an overflow at any other call centers were to occur.
“There’s going to be a really big increase in calls,” said Sheila Moran, Director of Marketing and Communication for First Choice Services. “The calls to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline had already been steadily increasing, and we certainly have seen an increase at our office. But, projections are they may as much as triple when 988 is made available. So, that’s why we’re busy right now hiring a lot of people.”
Moran estimates the center is looking for 45 additional people to fill the backup national lifeline. If you’re interested in applying to be a crisis counselor, you can apply on First Choice Services website here.
Since the number doesn’t start until July, until then, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 in an emotional emergency or if you’re having suicidal thoughts.