A New Three-Digit Veterans Crisis Line Phone Number Makes It Easier for Veterans, Service Members, National Guard, and Reserve Members to Get Support
A new Veterans Crisis Line phone number makes it easier for veterans, service members, National Guard and Reserve members, and those who support them to get help when they need it: dial 988 and then press 1.
The recently launched number is a result of the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act of 2020, which required all telephone service providers to have three-digit numbers available by July 16th for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The new number is easier to remember and share so that those who need help will be able to access the care they need. Veterans will also still be able to use the old number, 1-800-273-8255, and press 1.
In addition to the 988 number, veterans can also seek support:
By texting 838255
By initiating an online chat
Launched in 2007, the Veterans Crisis Line provides 24/7 confidential crisis support for veterans, service members, and their loved ones. You don’t have to be enrolled in VA benefits or healthcare to connect. The initiative started with only 14 trained responders working out of a call center in Canandaigua, NY. Today, it includes an online chat, text service, and 500 responders in three call center locations. Many of the responders are veterans themselves, so they are intimately familiar with the challenges that this population faces.
As of May 2022, the Veterans Crisis Line has fielded:
More than 6.2 million calls
More than 253,000 texts
More than 1.1 million referrals to VA suicide prevention coordinators
More than 233,000 emergency services dispatches
After the initial connection, responders can refer callers to local suicide prevention coordinators available in VA medical centers across the country.
There are a variety of stressful, difficult life situations that can create an emotional crisis. According to the Veterans Crisis Line, if you are experiencing any of the below signs, you should seek immediate assistance:
Thoughts of hurting or killing yourself
Seeking ways to kill yourself
Discussing death, dying, or suicide
Exhibiting self-destructive behavior, such as drug abuse or risky weapon use
These are warning signs that indicate you may need help:
Feeling sad or depressed most of the time
Experiencing agitation, sleeplessness, or mood swings
Feeling as if there is no reason to live
Feeling excessive guilt, shame, or a sense of failure
Experiencing rage or anger
Engaging in risky activities
Increasing alcohol or drug misuse
Losing interest in activities that previously brought pleasure
Neglecting personal welfare and appearance
Withdrawing from loved ones
Giving away prized possessions
Placing affairs in order, tying up loose ends, or writing a will
The Veterans Crisis Line offers a confidential self-risk assessment if you are unsure how stress or depression is affecting you.
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