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Gun storage, new Veteran’s Crisis Line focus of Suicide Prevention Month at VA Augusta

PRESS RELEASE

September 7, 2022

Augusta , GA — New 3-digit Veterans Crisis Line (dial 988 and press 1) offers Veterans a short, easy-to-remember way to get 24/7 support About 7 out of 10 Veteran deaths by suicide result from firearm injuries

AUGUSTA, Ga. –This September, throughout Suicide Prevention Month, VA Augusta Health Care System is highlighting gun storage and the new, 3-digit Veterans Crisis Line as resources available to Veterans who are struggling with thoughts of suicide.

“This Suicide Prevention Month, we’re focusing on two things,” said Dr. Robin Jackson, Executive Director for VA Augusta Health Care System. “First, making it simple to ask for help by spreading the word about the new, user-friendly Veterans Crisis Line, and second, encouraging Veterans to practice smart gun storage, to put “space between thought and trigger.” Those two things can really make a difference in saving the lives of Veterans, so we’re asking all our community and media partners to help us in spreading the word.”

Using the new Veterans Crisis Line, Veterans having thoughts of suicide can dial 988, then press 1, to connect with free, confidential, 24/7 support. Easy to use and remember, the new crisis line could be critical to saving the life of a Veteran who is in emotional crisis. Veterans can also continue to use the historic Veterans Crisis Line (800-273-8255, Press 1), text 838255, or use the chat feature to get support.

In addition, increasing the time and distance between someone who might want to harm themselves and access to lethal means can reduce suicide risk. Lethal means are objects like guns, medications, alcohol, opioids or other substances, ropes, cords, or sharp objects that can be used during a suicidal crisis. If a Veteran is in crisis or having suicidal thoughts, these items can become deadly when they are easily accessible. VA Augusta offers tips, resources, and free gun locks to help prevent Veteran suicide by lethal means.

Media seeking to coordinate coverage or gain more information can contact Will Martin, Chief of Public Affairs, at (706) 733-0188 ext. 31733 or William.Martin6@va.gov.

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