What to expect when you call the Veterans Crisis Line

If you’re going through a tough time or having thoughts of suicide, you’re not alone, and there is hope. There really are people who want to listen and help.

Reaching out for help may be the last thing you want to do, and you may think no one understands what you’re going through. But the responders at the Veterans Crisis Line are trained to provide support no matter what you’re experiencing.

Since many responders are Veterans or have Veteran family members and friends, they are prepared to listen to and help you address the challenges you’re facing.

Let’s walk through what you can expect when you call the Veterans Crisis Line.

Calling the Veterans Crisis Line

After you Dial 988 then Press 1, you’ll hear a brief message that you’re being transferred to the next available Veterans Crisis Line responder. Responders are there to provide the support you need on your path to safety, hope and healing.

Once you’re connected to a Veterans Crisis Line responder, they’ll listen to better understand what you’re going through and why you called. They may also ask a few questions to make sure they’re providing support and resources that best fit your needs. You decide how much information you share. Through the conversation, responders may ask you questions, such as “Are you thinking of suicide?” or “What plan can we put in place to keep you safe today?”

If you or the Veteran you’re concerned about is in crisis, the responder will work with you and help you make a plan to stay safe. This could include discussing things that have worked for you in the past, thinking about family or friends you feel comfortable reaching out to or helping you to make your home safe. The responder can also connect you with the support services you need, either from your local VA medical center or elsewhere in your community.

Texting and chatting with the Veterans Crisis Line

In addition to calling the Veterans Crisis Line, Veterans and their supporters have the option to chat (VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat) or text (838255) to reach responders.

With the Veterans Crisis Line chat or text feature, confidential crisis support is a click away. After you start a chat or text, a VA responder will join the conversation. There’s no cost for you to chat and text the Veterans Crisis Line, and you decide how much information you share.

After the call

If you choose, the responder will share your name and some personal information with your local VA suicide prevention coordinator who will contact you the next business day.

You may also be connected to the Peer Support Outreach Call Center. This center is staffed by trained Veterans who proactively reach out to Veterans Crisis Line callers who might benefit from additional support. Veterans who have peer mentors are more likely to keep their VA appointments, access additional treatment methods, and meet other important health benchmarks.

VA’s Resource Locator can also connect you to resources and support systems. Whether you’re looking for clinical care, counseling, or assistance with benefits, you can use this tool to search for local VA resources in your area.

To find resources nearby, visit the Local Resources page on the Veterans Crisis Line website: https://www.VeteransCrisisLine.net/find-resources/local-resources/. Scroll down to see the Search Local VA Resources box. Here, you can enter your ZIP code and distance parameters. You can search from 10-30 miles from your ZIP code.

Results will include the type of resource (Vet centers, VA medical centers, VA benefits offices) and its name, address, and phone number, a link to its website, and the distance from the ZIP code you entered.

Millions of Veterans have contacted the Veterans Crisis Line. Don’t wait. Contact the Veterans Crisis Line today: Dial 988, then press 1, chat online at VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat, or text 838255.

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