CHARLESTON, WV (WVNS) — The West Virginia DHHR, Bureau for Behavioral Health plans to continue with its plans of transitioning to a new three-digit number (988) for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

The Bureau for Behavior Health provides the main funding for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline call center for West Virginia, which is operated by First Choice Services. The service has the ability to answer in-state calls to the Lifeline. This service also includes the Veterans Crisis Line.

Fortunately, the Mountain State is one of the top five states for answer rates for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, picking up 90 percent of calls.

“West Virginia has been working with the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to plan for 988 implementation. Over the past few months, the focus has moved to onboarding and training staff to be ready to answer increased voice calls and adding chat and text options,” as expressed by Christina Mullins, Commissioner of DHHR’s Bureau for Behavioral Health, talking about the importance of this significant life saving change.

Funding for this transition to the Lifeline was awarded by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

The projected date for the number change is July 16, 2022. For more information about the 988 transition planning, please visit their website at https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/988.