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Veteran suicide prevention

If you’re a Veteran in a mental health crisis and you’re thinking about hurting yourself—or you know a Veteran who’s considering this—get help right away. You’re not alone.

How do I talk to someone right now?

If you’re a Veteran in crisis or concerned about one, connect with our caring, qualified Veterans Crisis Line responders for confidential help. Many of them are Veterans themselves. This service is private, free, and available 24/7.

Heres how you can connect with a Veterans Crisis Line responder, anytime day or night:

You can also take these actions:

  • Call 911.
  • Go to the nearest emergency room.
  • Go directly to your nearest VA medical center. It doesn’t matter what your discharge status is or if you’re enrolled in VA health care.
    Find your nearest VA medical center

Will VA cover my emergency mental health care?

We may be able to provide or cover the cost of your emergency mental health care and up to 90 days of related services—even if you’re not enrolled in VA health care.

If a health care provider determines you’re at risk of immediate self-harm, we can provide or cover the cost of your care if you meet at least 1 of these requirements:

  • You were the victim of sexual assault, battery, or harassment while serving in the Armed Forces, or
  • You served on active duty for more than 24 months and didn’t get a dishonorable discharge, or 
  • You served more than 100 days under a combat exclusion or in support of a contingency operation (including as a member of the Reserve) and didn’t get a dishonorable discharge. You meet this requirement if you served directly or if you operated an unmanned aerial vehicle from another location.

If you go to a non-VA emergency department for help, tell the staff you’re a Veteran. Ask them to contact us right away.

Learn more about getting emergency care at non-VA facilities

How can I get ongoing support?

You can get ongoing support through your local VA health care facility or regional office:

  • Our specially trained suicide prevention coordinators—available in each VA medical center across the country—can help you get the counseling and services you need.
    Find your nearest VA medical center
  • Our Vet Centers can help you—and your family—readjust to life at home after you’ve returned from serving in a combat zone.
    Find your nearest Vet Center
  • Our Veterans Benefits Administration offices can help you access benefits for disability compensation (monthly payments), job training, home loans, and more.
    Find your nearest regional office

You can also find information and support on our websites:

Information for family and friends

Many Veterans don’t show any signs of an urge to harm themselves before doing so. But some may show signs like these of depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, or hopelessness:

  • Seeming sad, depressed, anxious, or agitated most of the time
  • Sleeping either all the time or not much at all
  • Not caring about what they look like or what happens to them
  • Pulling away from friends, family, and society
  • Losing interest in hobbies, work, school, or other things they used to care about
  • Expressing feelings of excessive guilt or shame, failure, lack of purpose in life, or being trapped

They may also change the way they act, and start to show signs like these:

  • Perform poorly at work or school
  • Act violently or take risks (like driving fast or running red lights)
  • Do things to prepare for a suicide (like giving away special personal items, making a will, or seeking access to guns or pills)

Get the full list of signs that someone may be considering suicide

Get information about suicide prevention and the support we offer.

Go to our suicide prevention website

Take our Veterans self-check quiz

Yes. If you’re a family member or friend of a Veteran who’s having trouble adjusting to life at home, we can help. Through our national Coaching Into Care program, our licensed psychologists and social workers will talk with you by phone, free of charge. We can help you find your way around the VA system and figure out the best way to help the Veteran you care about. All calls are confidential (private).

To connect with a VA coach, call 888-823-7458 (TTY: 711). We’re here Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET.

To get tips and resources for spouses, parents, and Veterans, go to the Coaching Into Care website.

Go to the Coaching Into Care website

Get tips for talking to children of different ages about suicide: