Most people don’t think about documentaries when they think about The Oscars, but this year the Oscar for Best Documentary Short went to a film that hit close to home. CRISIS HOTLINE: VETERANS PRESS 1, produced by HBO Documentaries, explored the Veterans Crisis Line and highlighted the important work being done by hundreds of men and women for our veterans.
Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert A. McDonald issued a press release expressing his gratitude for the film’s raw look into how critical this service is to help prevent veteran suicide and violence. “We are hopeful that this documentary will help raise awareness of this important issue with the American public,” he said. “Our Veterans in crisis need to know that there is hope and asking for help makes them stronger.”
Vets can reach the Veterans Crisis Line at any time, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. They just have to call toll-free 1-800-273-8255, option 1. Recently, the Veterans Crisis Line added the ability to text. Vets just need to send a message to 838255. The line also has support for deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals. There is also an online chat feature found on www.VeteransCrisisLine.net.
The Crisis Line is staffed by qualified Department of Veterans Affairs Responders and is completely confidential. Veterans, friends, and family members can call the number to get help for a veteran who is in a state of crisis. Since the outreach program began in 2007, responders have answered more than 1.6 million calls and made more than 45,000 lifesaving rescues. The text service, added in 2011, has responded to more than 32,000 texts. And the anonymous online chat has engaged more than 207,700 sessions.
Recognize the Warning Signs of Veterans Crises
If you are a friend or family member of a veteran, the following are warning signs that the veteran may be experiencing a personal crisis and requires help.
- Unexplained or uncontrolled rage or anger.
- Anxiety, agitation, sleeplessness, or mood swings.
- Increasing substance abuse.
- Hopelessness, feeling like there’s no way out and no value to their life.
- Engaging in risky activities without concern for the consequences.
- Withdrawing from friends and family.
- Ignoring personal and professional duties/obligations.
- Quitting hobbies.
Veterans can also call the Crisis Line for themselves if they recognize signs or trouble or if they just need someone to talk them through a difficult time.
- Looking for ways to kill yourself.
- Self-destructive behavior like drug abuse, acting recklessly with weapons or hazards.
- Thinking about hurting or killing yourself.
- Talking about death, dying, or suicide.
There have been many studies on PTSD in veterans that revealed there could be a connection between combat trauma and suicidal tendencies. The VA health care system offers mental health counseling to help veterans cope with their symptoms. If you suffer from mental or physical injuries or conditions from your time in military service you may qualify for VA disability benefits. When you’re ready to get started, contact Veterans Help Group® for assistance and support for your claim. Call today – 1-855-855-8992.