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Help is Here website revamped, making substance abuse and mental illness resources more accessible

Delaware Department of Health and Social Services Secretary Josette Manning introduces changes to the Help is Here website.
Rachel Sawicki
Delaware Public Media
Delaware Department of Health and Social Services Secretary Josette Manning introduces changes to the Help is Here website. unveils a new design with added resources for Delawareans struggling with substance abuse and mental illness.

The new version of the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services website includes resources for prevention, recovery, and those actively dealing with addiction, as well as access to treatment providers. It also has emergency and crisis resources, access to fentanyl test trips and Narcan kits, and a toolkit for parents to educate their kids on substance abuse.

DHSS Secretary Josette Manning says their main message to those struggling is that they are not alone, and help is never out of reach.

“I would never want someone to not seek help because they couldn't afford it or because they don’t have insurance," Manning says. "And that’s a critical message here. If you need help, get on that website, reach out, make a connection, and we will find a way to get you help. We don’t want anyone being discouraged from that based on a price tag of a service.”

Manning adds they need more of the actual resources too – there are gaps in providers, particularly in Kent and Sussex County.

Tina Distefano is a mom whose child struggled with addiction and is now in recovery. She says her son started using in 2009, she didn’t know where to begin. Even when the original website launched in 2014, she says the resources were hard to navigate, and she didn’t know who to call in a crisis.

“When I would call, I would be directed to another ‘I can’t help you,’ ‘I can’t help you,’ ‘I can’t help you,’ and you’re in the middle of a crisis and you need help," DiStefano says. "So understanding that there is a mental health emergency line, 988, will be a huge tool that I can pass on to other parents.”

Jill Fredel, board member for the nonprofit Attack Addiction, says the Help is Here website answers that “where to start” question on the first page.

“Where is my loved one on that continuum? Today you come to the website and the first thing is, here are resources for you, the phone numbers to call or the websites to visit, or the physical locations to go to to get started.”

Fredel says more than 3,500 Delawareans have died from substance use in the last ten years – 537 of those were last year. As of September 21 this year, 360 people have died from a suspected drug overdose.

Rachel Sawicki was born and raised in Camden, Delaware and attended the Caesar Rodney School District. They graduated from the University of Delaware in 2021 with a double degree in Communications and English and as a leader in the Student Television Network, WVUD and The Review.