The Veterans Crisis Line

The Veterans Crisis Line is a toll-free, confidential resource that connects Veterans in crisis and their families and friends with qualified, caring VA responders.  Since its launch in 2007, the Veterans Crisis Line has answered more than 890,000 calls and made more than 30,000 lifesaving rescues.

The professionals at the Veterans Crisis Line are specially trained and experienced in helping Veterans of all ages and circumstances – from veterans coping with mental health issues that were never addressed to recent veterans struggling with relationships or the transition back to civilian life.

As was mentioned before, the Veterans Crisis Line was launched back in 2007 in an answer to increasing veteran suicides.  Since its launch, thousands of veterans have found help and relief not only through phone calls, but through other venues launched.  In 2009, the Veterans Crisis Line added an anonymous online chat service and has engaged in more than 108,000 chats.  In November 2011, the Veterans Crisis Line introduced a text-messaging service, and has since responded to more than 10,000 texts – providing another way for veterans to connect with round-the-clock support.

But when should veterans seek help from these sources?  People experience emotional and mental health crises in response to a wide range of situations – from difficulties in their personal relationships to the loss of a job. For Veterans, these crises can be heightened by their experiences in military service.  When emotional issues reach a crisis point, that’s when it is time to seek help from any of the Veterans Crisis Line’s sources.

Sometimes, a crisis may involve thoughts of suicide.  No one should ever get themselves to that point.  Try to keep in check by paying attention and recognizing certain warning signs.  Hopelessness is a very dangerous emotion.  It’s where a person feels like there is no way out; like there is nowhere to go or to turn.  But remember, there is family and friends, and if all else fails, there is still the Crisis Line.

A veteran may feel anxiety, agitation, and even mood swings caused by experiences from his or her service.  It may even cause sleeplessness, which will amplify all of the other bad emotions from lack of sleep.  Living with these feelings, a veteran may begin to think, ‘there is no reason to live,’ but there is.  There always is, but sometimes these dangerous emotions and situations can hide those reasons.

A veteran may feel rage or anger at things that have happened during service, or more often, things that are happening to them now.  Life is difficult at times, having to deal with bills, work, and family.  It’s easy for the strongest of people to get overwhelmed and angry at situations in life.  This rage and anger can lead veterans to engage in risky activities without thinking, or even lead them into alcohol and drug abuse, further clouding the mind and reason.

All of these emotions and actions lead to the veteran withdrawing from family and friends.  Feeling all of these emotions is a slippery slope.  The more you feel them, the deeper you sink.  The deeper you sink, the more you feel them.  It is this pattern that leads veterans, and every day average people, to think about, and commit, suicide.  If any of these emotions are getting you, or a veteran you know, deeper into despair, act!  Call, chat, or text for help.

There are more serious emotions and thoughts that require more immediate action.  If you, or any veteran you know, is thinking about hurting or killing themselves, looking for ways to kill themselves, talking about death, dying or suicide, or showing self-destructive behavior such as drug abuse, call to talk to professionals immediately.  They know how to help. Even if you don’t see a way out, there is.

Veterans and their loved ones can call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1 to talk over the phone, or chat online, or send a text message to 838255 to receive free, confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.  The veteran does not have to be registered with VA or enrolled in VA health care to use this service, they just have to make the effort to reach out for help.  VA also provides support for Service members through the Military Crisis Line.  Service members and their families and friends can call and text the Veterans Crisis Line numbers and can Cat online  The VA is working to make sure that all Veterans and their loved ones are aware of the Veterans Crisis Line, so if you know any veterans in need, please pass the info.


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