VA Launches New PSA on Suicide Prevention to Help Veterans in Crisis
Confidential Suicide Prevention Hotline Provides Veterans 24/7 Access to Help
Washington, DC (Vocus/PRWEB) March 03, 2011
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) launched a new public service announcement (PSA) today to address the critical need to help veterans in crisis by raising awareness about suicide prevention resources such as the Veterans Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
“On average, 18 veterans per day take their own lives,” said Sonja V. Batten, Ph.D., Assistant Deputy Chief Patient Care Services Officer for Mental Health. “As more Veterans return from Iraq and Afghanistan, the critical need for mental health care is rising, and VA is increasing its efforts to reach out to Veterans in need, and their families, about resources and services available to them.”
The new PSA, entitled “Perspectives,” encourages Veterans in crisis to call the national suicide prevention hotline number 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and then “push 1″ to reach a well-trained VA mental health professional who can assist the Veteran 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“Suicide is a preventable public health problem,” said Batten. “Every Veteran suicide is a tragic outcome and regardless of the numbers or rates, one Veteran suicide is too many. We feel the responsibility to continue to spread the word throughout the nation that “˜Suicide Prevention is Everyone’s Business.’”
The Veterans Suicide Prevention Hotline, which is part of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, was started in 2007 as a partnership between VA and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
To date, more than 379,000 callers have called the Veterans Suicide Prevention Hotline, and more than 200,000 of these callers have identified themselves as Veterans or family members or friends of Veterans. To date, the hotline has led to more than 13,000 rescues of actively suicidal Veterans.
The Veterans Suicide Prevention Hotline also operates an online Veterans Chat program, which provides Veterans, their families and friends with the ability to communicate anonymously online in real-time with a trained VA mental health professional. Veterans Chat can be accessed through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s web page at http://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/Veterans/Default.aspx.
Through the Hotline and Veterans Chat, VA can connect Veterans and their families with important services, including suicide prevention coordinators, and general inpatient and outpatient psychiatric services at VA Medical Centers and community-based outpatient clinics.
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For the original version on PRWeb visit: http://www.prweb.com/releases/prweb2011/3/prweb8171201.htm