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In August, First Choice Services launched a new emotional strengthline, 1-877-HELP-304, to help West Virginians dealing with a range of stress-related issues and emotional fatigue.

Since then, 364 West Virginians have called for help. Calls have come in from all across the state, with ages ranging from teenagers to the elderly. Some are lonely, some are scared, some are panicked, some are suicidal. Now, they have even more options for help. HELP304 is adding a free weekly support group, which will be facilitated by a licensed professional counselor and will focus on managing stress and anxiety.

Steven Perry, program director for HELP304, said a common theme has emerged among calls.

“These are people who feel scared and alone, who need support. They don’t feel connected. That’s why we’re offering this group.”

He also noted that anxiety is high in the Mountain State, as the CDC ranks West Virginia as “the least mentally healthy state.”

The first meeting is set for 6 p.m. Nov. 4. Attendance is confidential and attendees will not divulge their names to the group. Participation will be limited, but additional sessions are planned. The meeting will be held on Zoom and those interested must call in advance to get information on accessing the meetings. They can do this by calling 1-877-HELP-304, texting 1-877-4357-304, or visiting for online chat. Callers can also talk one-on-one with a trained crisis counselor.