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NEW NUMBER: Dial 988 then press 1
OLD NUMBER: 1-800-273-8255 then press 1
Beginning JULY 16th, 2022, in response to the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act designating the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, the Department of Veterans Affairs has made it more user friendly to access the Veterans Crisis Line.
“During a crisis, every second counts,” said VA Secretary Denis McDonough. “This new, shorter number makes it easier for Veterans and those who care about them to reach lifesaving support without having to be enrolled in VA benefits or health care.”
Reducing Veteran suicide is the top clinical priority for the Department of Veterans Affairs and a top priority for the Biden-Harris administration. Enhancing suicide prevention crisis services is a key component of the White House strategy on reducing Veteran suicide as well as President Biden’s comprehensive strategy to address the country’s national mental health crisis.
VA operates the Veterans Crisis Line through the 988 Lifeline’s national network and thus collaborated to accomplish the successful transition. During two years of preparation, the department has added hundreds of crisis line employees and responder staff, with still more hiring underway, and has strengthened call center infrastructure.
The Veterans Crisis Line is a critical component of the nation’s largest integrated suicide prevention network. It links to more than 500 suicide prevention coordinators across the VA health care system, ensuring coordination into follow-up services as part of a full continuum of care.
Individuals who call the Veterans Crisis Line are five times more likely to have less distress and less suicidal ideation from the beginning to end of the call.
If you or a Veteran you know is experiencing any of the following warning signs, contact the Veterans Crisis Line immediately: Dial 988 then press 1.
- Appearing sad or depressed most of the time
- Anxiety, agitation, sleeplessness, or mood swings
- Feeling as if there is no reason to live
- Feeling excessive guilt, shame, or sense of failure
- Rage or anger
- Engaging in risky activities without thinking
- Increasing alcohol or drug misuse
- Losing interest in hobbies, work, or school
- Neglecting personal welfare and appearance
- Withdrawing from family and friends
- Showing violent behavior, like punching a hole in the wall or getting into fights
- Giving away prized possessions
- Getting affairs in order, tying up loose ends, or writing a will.