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A Lifeline for Those Who Serve: The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Stress and the challenges of military service can take a toll on active duty service members and their families. The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline (also referred to as the Veterans Crisis Line) offers support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year.  Established in 2007 by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), this vital resource provides free and confidential help to active duty service members, retirees, and their family members in times of crisis. You do not have to have VA benefits to use the Veterans Crisis Line.

The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline has a dedicated team of 500 responders who provide confidential support and assistance through phone, online chat and text. Whether you are facing challenges related to deploying, transitioning to civilian life, or coping with mental health issues or thoughts of suicide, you can reach out for immediate help by dialing 988 (then selecting 1), texting 838255 or using the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline’s online chat.

You decide how much you share with a 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline counselor. The counselors understand the unique and challenging experiences related to being in the military and are often veterans themselves. This enables them to provide empathy and understanding. Their knowledge of and familiarity with the military lifestyle helps create a connection when you reach out. The counselor will listen and offer help, including connecting you with more mental health services and support. 

The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline Line has a crucial role in suicide prevention within the military community. You can express your thoughts and feelings to a counselor, who will listen without judgment. The counselor can help you with de-escalating a crisis, exploring coping strategies, and finding longer-term support services.

The website for the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline also has links you can use to find local resources in your area. From referrals to local mental health services to assistance with housing and employment, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline’s goal is to offer assistance that will meet your individual needs.

For more information visit www.veteranscrisisline.net.