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VA's Veterans Crisis Line Saves Lives Every Day

Responders work on a call in a call center

Veterans Crisis Line connects Veterans in crisis with qualified, caring responders.

By Hans Petersen, VA Staff Writer
Thursday, February 19, 2015

Caring, Confidential Responders Always There

VA’s Veterans Crisis Line has answered over 1,625,000 calls.

That’s more than a million-and-a-half times a Veteran has felt suicidal or depressed or lost and decided to call for help…and the Crisis Line was there.

It’s a crisis too many of our wounded warriors face.

The Crisis Line has sent over 45,000 rescues to assist callers with emergency services. That means that when our trained responders know the caller is in a serious crisis and they can’t calm them down or convince them to go to a VA hospital and see a Suicide Prevention Coordinator, they call the closest local emergency personnel to go to that Veteran’s home and help them.

And that has happened 45,000 times.

That saves lives and helps Veterans on the road to recovery. And since 2007, the Crisis Line has been there non-stop: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year. Mental Health problems do not take a holiday and neither do we.

VA’s Veterans Crisis Line connects Veterans in crisis and their families and friends with qualified, caring responders through a confidential toll-free hotline, online chat, and text services.

The Crisis Line has provided over 261,000 referrals to local facility Suicide Prevention Coordinators. It is an essential component of VA’s overall effort to prevent suicide.

Mental Health problems do not take a holiday and neither do we.

Goal: Immediate Crisis Intervention

Our goal is to provide immediate crisis intervention and then connect the Veteran with local Suicide Prevention Coordinators. The mission is to reduce the number of suicides by reducing immediate stress, offering callers options, and referring them to the appropriate VA or community resources nearest their homes.

We encourage all Veterans and Military Servicemembers to connect with the Veterans Crisis Line by calling 1-800-273-8255 and press 1.

You can chat with someone who understands by visiting our website at or you can text us at 838255.

The caring professionals at the Veterans Crisis Line are specially trained and experienced in helping Veterans of all ages and circumstances. Many of the responders are Veterans and understand what Veterans and their families and friends have been through and the challenges Veterans of all ages and service eras face.

Working the phone lines is a team of a responder and a health technician. The responder, a trained crisis intervention specialist, takes the call and speaks with the Veteran and tries to understand the situation. The health technician takes the information the Veteran provides to the responder and tries to pinpoint their location. Once a location is established, emergency services in that area can be contacted either for immediate attention in response to a suicide attempt or to provide follow-up care.

Call and talk to them about anything you are struggling with — the death of a loved one, relationship break-up, loss of job or unemployment, money problems, losing your home or anything else that might be contributing to how you are feeling.

Crisis Can Come from a Wide Range of Situations

It is not unusual to face disappointments, frustrations, loss and the wear and tear of daily stress. 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 during military service. When emotional issues become overwhelming, it’s time to call on the Veterans Crisis Line for support.

It’s helped thousands of Veterans and it can help you.

The Veterans Crisis Line works in partnership with the Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

One suicide is one too many, and in our efforts to try and prevent any suicide, we are working hard to make the Crisis Line even better. We’re working to improve our processes and systems to allow for earlier intervention through better identification of Veterans in crisis and proactive engagement.

The Crisis Line is working. A million-and-a-half phone calls later, we are still here to help. Call!

Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255 and press 1