By Hans Petersen
Tuesday, September 8, 2015
One small act could save the life of a Veteran or Servicemember in crisis, someone who may be thinking about suicide.
We call it “The Power of 1.” And you may be that one. You can offer a Veteran hope and connections to confidential support and resources. Think about how:
- 1 conversation opens the door.
- 1 person can stand by a Veteran.
- 1 call can save a life.
- 1 small act makes a difference.
- 1 question can open the door to support.
And there’s another “1” that can save a life. It’s the “1” you press when you call the Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255. It will connect you directly with caring responders who are trained to help Veterans.
The Veterans Crisis Line has provided over 260,000 referrals to local facility Suicide Prevention Coordinators. It is an essential component of VA’s overall effort to prevent suicide.
“One call, one chat, one text can open the door to hope.”
“Sometimes, when we suspect a Veteran or Servicemember in our lives may be going through a crisis, we are unsure how to help. But we all have the power to take the first step to reach out, to find time in our day to talk with the Veterans close to us and see how they’re doing,” said Dr. Caitlin Thompson, Deputy Director of VA’s Suicide Prevention Program. “It takes only a moment, and just one small act can start them down the path to getting the support they need.”
September is Suicide Prevention Month
VA is collaborating with community organizations throughout the month, with specially trained suicide prevention coordinators in VA medical centers across the nation spreading the word at local events, sponsoring health fairs, and working with the Department of Defense to help Veterans and Servicemembers get the support they deserve.
In addition, VA is coordinating with local and regional groups — including community partners, Veterans Service Organizations, health care providers and prominent Veteran supporters — to spread the word about VA’s mental health resources.
Together, this network will encourage Veterans and the people in their lives to educate themselves about suicide risk, identify warning signs and learn the steps to take in a time of crisis.
Those steps include contacting the Veterans Crisis Line or using its online chat and text-messaging services for free, confidential support from specially trained and experienced responders.
Veterans, Servicemembers and anyone concerned about them can call the Veterans Crisis Line (1-800-273-8255 and Press 1), chat online at VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat, or send a text to 838255. You don’t have to be registered with VA or enrolled in VA health care.
All Veterans Crisis Line resources are optimized for mobile devices.
“Taking that first step to connect with someone in crisis can feel daunting, but we all can make a difference in a Veteran’s life,” Thompson said. “One call, one chat, one text can open the door to hope.”
To learn more about the Veterans Crisis Line or to find a local VA suicide prevention coordinator, visit VeteransCrisisLine.net. For more information about VA mental health resources, visit www.mentalhealth.va.gov.