WV Selected to Participate in Federal Policy Academy for 988 Suicide & Crisis Response Lifeline

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Department of Human Services (DoHS) has been selected as one of six states to participate in a federally funded policy academy to ensure 988 Suicide and Crisis Response Lifeline systems for children and adults with intellectual and development disabilities (I/DD), brain injury, other cognitive impairments, and individuals who cannot rely on speech alone for communication.

“This selection is a significant milestone for West Virginia, placing us firmly ahead of the curve in our dedication to serving our residents comprehensively,” Cynthia Persily, Ph.D., Cabinet Secretary for the West Virginia Department of Human Services said. “By participating in this policy academy, we reaffirm our commitment to proactively address the needs of our communities, especially those with disabilities. This opportunity not only showcases our state’s leadership but also positions us to spearhead innovative approaches that ensure every individual receives the care and support they deserve.”

The Link Center recognized DoHS as having demonstrated a commitment to building services systems to ensure that, regardless of a person’s disability, they are able to get the treatment and supports that they need.

“In recognizing West Virginia’s pioneering efforts to ensure accessible crisis response services, this invitation to participate in the policy academy is a testament to the substantial groundwork we’ve laid, particularly in our advancements with the 988 Suicide and Crisis Response Lifeline and our ongoing efforts to cater to the needs of individuals with disabilities,” said Christina Mullins, DoHS Deputy Secretary of Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders.
As states are building 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline systems, there is a growing recognition of the need to ensure that these services are available to everyone. This policy academy will provide a framework for leadership at the state level to initiate and sustain needed strategies to meet the immediate needs of children and adults requiring interventions available through 988 and crisis response, but also to forge cross system strategies to enable longer-term supports and services, if needed, for people with I/DD, brain injury, and other disabilities. 

The Link Center is a Project of National Significance (PNS) funded by the Administration for Community Living (ACL) to help make mental health treatment and supports more available to individuals with I/DD, brain injury, and other disabilities. The Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has joined with ACL on this project to support The Link Center to host this critical policy academy to help states make sure that crisis prevention and response are accessible to all children and adults.

To view and apply for career opportunities in the West Virginia behavioral health field, visit