VA Launches New PSA on Suicide Prevention for Veterans

Confidential Crisis Line Provides 24/7 Access to Help

They go through the training. They put on the uniform. They leave their loved ones behind and go off to defend our freedoms. The very least we can do, as a grateful nation, is to help them find their way home. As more and more of our men and women in uniform return from Iraq and Afghanistan, there is an increasing need for mental health care. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is reaching out to Veterans in crisis and their families in a new public service announcement to raise awareness about suicide prevention resources, such as the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The PSA encourages Veterans in crisis to call the crisis hotline number at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to reach a trained VA mental health professional, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The PSA can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/user/VeteransHealthAdmin#p/u/1/PPL7CAHixQE.

The hotline, which is part of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, was started in 2007 as a partnership between VA and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).  So far, the hotline has led to more than 13,000 rescues of actively suicidal Veterans. The hotline also operates an online Veterans Chat program, which provides Veterans, their families and friends with the ability to communicate anonymously online in real-time with a trained VA mental health professional.  Veterans Chat can be accessed through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s web page at http://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/Veterans/Default.aspx. Through the hotline and Veterans Chat, VA can connect Veterans and their families with important services, including suicide prevention coordinators, as well as general inpatient and outpatient psychiatric services at VA medical centers and community-based outpatient clinics. Suicide is 100% preventable, and it is everyone’s responsibility.