Many Veterans and their family members and friends do not realize that help during trying times may be just a phone call, online chat or a text message away. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has established a 24 hour crisis line program that “connects Veterans in crisis and their families and friends with qualified, caring Department of Veterans Affairs responders through a confidential toll-free hotline, online chat, or text.”
I decided that before writing about the Veterans Crisis Line, I should try it out and see if it was indeed confidential. I have to admit that I thought they would get my contact information one way or another, but I learned that they did not. What the person on the other end of the line did was listen. I only had to input my first name while doing the online chat and that just helped to make the chat a little more personal.
I did not want to tie up their services, so I kept the chat short and I gave the person a scenario. I said “My friend’s husband has gone missing and it has been reported to Law Enforcement, but I really think she needs someone to talk with.” I followed up by saying that “the husband left the Military a few years back” and the response I got was a “yes, it sure does sound like she can use the service”.
I wanted to put this information out there because I know that when someone is actively serving in the Military, services such as this are forced down our throats through training, promotional posters, flyers and cheap trade show items such as those foam stress balls with the service printed on the side. What I have learned is that many families and friends of Veterans who may have left the Military years ago do not realize that programs like this exist and they are there for them.
If you are a Veteran or a family member or friend of a Veteran, please visit the Veterans Crisis Line website and see what they offer. You may not need the services, but you also may run into someone that does. If you are unsure if you can use the service, it does not hurt to try and they may be able to inform you about services that you can use.
Veterans and their loved ones can call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, chat online, or send a text message to 838255 to receive confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Support for deaf and hard of hearing individuals is available.
A quick look behind the scenes of the Veterans Crisis Line
The Power of One