Editorial Roundup: West Virginia

Parkersburg News and Sentinel. May 4, 2024.

Editorial: Mental Health: Know the resources available to you

Declaring an awareness month is easy. Using the extra attention given during that month to actually make a difference is another story. But state Department of Human Services Bureau for Behavioral Health officials are certainly trying during this Mental Health Awareness Month.

West Virginia joins the national effort to focus on the theme “Where to Start: Mental Health in a Changing World,” which focuses on everyone’s right to feel supported and empowered as they seek help facing life’s overwhelming pressures.

Resources are everywhere, but those who are struggling do not always know where to start. Those looking to support that journey can explore the #BeThe1To campaign, which looks at the steps everyone can take to prevent suicide. Those five steps are available at www.bethe1to.com.

HELP4WV offers 24/7 call, chat or text support through 1-8044-HELP4WV to anyone struggling with addiction or other mental health issues. There is also a Children’s Crisis and Referral Line that provides parenting support, crisis counseling, and local resources to families.

The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline also gives 24/7 direct access to trained crisis counselors.


The Intelligencer. May 8, 2024.

Editorial: Keeping W.Va. Residents Safe

It’s easy to be a brave, “freedom”-loving opponent of vaccines when it seems as though there is no immediate danger. But a report by WCHS out of Monongalia County reminds us such a stance is risky and damaging all the time.

West Virginia has for years done better than any other state in creating laws and policy that give some protection to our children, our families, our schools, churches and communities. In fact, prior to a few weeks ago, there had not been a measles case in the state since 2009. Measles had been declared essentially eradicated in 2000. Our strict school vaccination laws get the credit for West Virginia remaining unaffected by recent measles outbreaks in other parts of the country.

Until now.

“Monongalia County Health Department is diligently working with WVU Medicine to identify all people who came into contact with the (adult) patient within the WVU Medicine system and is actively reaching out to inform those individuals of the exposure,” Dr. Brian H. Huggins, the health department’s incoming health officer, said. “Additionally, MCHD is in conversation with the patient to identify other places this individual traveled while symptomatic.”

Measles is miserable, and one in every 1,000 cases can come with complications that cause encephalitis and brain damage.

“We really want to emphasize that this is an illness that people should take very seriously,” Huggins said.

While a single patient in Monongalia County does not (for now) amount to an outbreak, the case is a reminder that lawmakers must remain strong against those who would weaken our protection against measles and worse. They will try again next time around. They must never succeed.