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Appalachia Health News tells the story of our health challenges and how we overcome them throughout the region. Reporter Kara Leigh Lofton covers topics such as women’s health, chronic disease and substance abuse.Her reports document the health-related innovation, improvement and success within the Appalachian region.Follow us on twitter at #AppalachiahealthAppalachia Health News is produced with support from  CAMC and Marshall Health.

City of Charleston Hires New Mental Health Coordinator Amid COVID Concerns

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The COVID-19 pandemic is causing added stress and anxiety across the nation and the globe. West Virginia’s capital city has responded by hiring a mental health coordinator to respond to growing local needs.

“This is a really stressful period, even for those who were not experiencing challenges before,” said Charleston Mayor Amy Goodwin, acknowledging financial stressors, evictions, childcare and other health issues that are impacting mental health.

Goodwin said Charleston has seen an increase in calls to 9-1-1 from people wanting help and needing somebody to talk to. She says a mental health coordinator will help increase the city’s capacity to get that assistance to more families.

The funds to support this new position will come from the CARES Act, federal money that Congress passed in March in response to the COVID crisis. The CARES Act contains additional funding that cities can apply for, through the Community Development Block Grants Program. 

The Mental Health Coordinator will be responsible for coordinating the work of a Mental Health Response Team. The team will include City of Charleston staff, mental health experts, homeless shelters and social service providers. 

If you want someone to talk to or need mental health assistance, West Virginia has a free emotional strength helpline for COVID-19-related stress. Call: 1-877-HELP304 Or text 1-877-435-7304 Chat: http://help304.com  This hotline can connect you to a crisis counselor for stress-management strategies, community resources and referrals.

Appalachia Health News

 

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