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Calls To Veterans Suicide Prevention Hotline Helpful


Yesterday’s tragic shooting at Fort Hood underscores the importance of taking care of our troops and veterans who have issues with post-traumatic stress, anxiety, or suicide.

It is currently estimated that 100,000 to 300,000 OIF/OEF veterans are at significant risk for developing chronic PTSD. PTSD has been found to effect one in six returning veterans from the Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) campaigns. The army suicide rate is higher than that among the general American population. The rate has been estimated as 20.2 per 100,000 soldiers, compared with 19.5 per 100,000 civilians.

The Veterans Suicide Prevention Hotline has been in operation for about a year. This helpful resource has received more than 22,000 calls from veterans or their families or friends. Remember they are available if you know a soldier or veteran who has difficulty dealing with PTSD or the Fort Hood news triggers increased anxieties.

The Veterans Suicide Prevention Hotline was founded by the Department of Veterans Affairs’. It is a prevention hotline to ensure veterans in emotional crisis have free, 24/7 access to trained counselors. To operate the Veterans Hotline, the VA partnered with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Veterans can call the Lifeline number, 1-800-273-TALK (8255), and press "1" to be routed to the Veterans Suicide Prevention Hotline.

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In addition, there is Veterans Chat service which enables Veterans, their families and friends to go online where they can anonymously chat with a trained VA counselor. If the chats are determined to be a crisis, the counselor can take immediate steps to transfer the chatter to the VA Suicide Prevention Hotline, where further counseling and referral services are provided and crisis intervention steps can be taken.

Know the Signs
Watch for these key suicide warning signs, and provide the Lifeline number to anyone exhibiting them.

  • Talking about wanting to hurt or kill oneself
  • Trying to get pills, guns, or other ways to harm oneself
  • Talking or writing about death, dying or suicide
  • Hopelessness
  • Rage, uncontrolled anger, seeking revenge
  • Acting in a reckless or risky way
  • Feeling trapped, like there is no way out
  • Saying or feeling there's no reason for living.

Veterans Chat is located online: mentalhealth.va.gov/suicide_prevention/index.asp

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