Department of Veterans Affairs Launches New Suicide Prevention Campaign
The Department of Veterans Affairs has launched a new suicide prevention campaign centered on the recently rebranded Veterans Crisis Line (formerly know as the Veterans Suicide Prevention Hotline) and online chat service. The Veterans Crisis Line and online chat are available 24/7/365 to provide free, confidential assistance and referrals for Veterans in crisis and their families.
Earlier this year, VA renamed the Veterans Suicide Prevention Hotline (1-800-273-8255 and Press 1) as the Veterans Crisis Line.The decision to use the word “crisis” instead of “suicide” aims to encourage more veterans to call or use the online chat service for any emotional crisis, even if they are not imminently suicidal.
Veterans and their families and friends can call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1 or log on to www.VeteransCrisisLine.net to be immediately connected with a VA responder at VA’s call center in Canandaigua, N.Y. The Veterans Crisis Line and online chat are staffed by professional, trained responders – many of whom are veterans.
Since its launch, the Veterans Crisis Line has answered more than 390,000 calls and made more than 13,000 life-saving rescues. Responders have also assisted close to 4,000 people through the online chat.
The campaign aims to let veterans and their loved ones, who are often the first to recognize when a veteran is in crisis, know that support is available for any emotional or personal crisis and “It’s Your Call” to reach out for help. The campaign is also enlisting the support of organizations that interact with veterans on a daily basis, such as the Knights of Columbus, to spread the word and help assist veterans who may be in crisis.
VA is in the process of developing materials, such as posters, print ads, online ads, and flyers, that can be distributed electronically to partners. These materials will be made available to Knights of Columbus in the near future, so please check back to www.kofc.org/veterans for these materials and further campaign updates.
All Veterans and their family members, including those who are not registered with VA or enrolled in VA health care, can call the Veterans Crisis Line (1-800-273-8255 and Press 1) or log onatwww.VeteransCrisisLine.netto talk to a VA professional who is specially trained to handle any crisis.
For more information about the Veterans Crisis Line, visit www.VeteransCrisisLine.net. For more information about VA’s suicide prevention program, visit http://www.mentalhealth.va.gov/suicide_prevention/.