Mental health issues are among the greatest challenges that our veteran community faces. Many veterans struggle with any number of problems, such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI), and substance abuse issues. Unfortunately, because of these and other mental health issues, an average of 20 veterans commit suicide every day.
There are many veterans who reside in our state and their mental health an important issue to discuss in West Virginia. Many veterans throughout the state may be living in seclusion or may be homeless, adding to the already difficult struggles of mental and medical illness that often leads to suicide. While the West Virginia Department of Veterans Assistance can offer assistance to aid homeless veterans, any veteran with a phone can access the Veterans Crisis Line to address issues of mental illness and suicidal thoughts.
The Veterans Crisis Line was created to help veterans get through difficult times. It is free and available 24/7 for veterans and their loved ones. The caller can speak openly and in confidence with a qualified, caring responder, even if the call is not directly about thoughts of suicide. Responders are there to listen and to help as much as possible. Many of the personnel taking the calls are veterans themselves, so they can truly understand what a veteran has gone through.
It is important to know that even friends and family members may contact the Veterans Crisis Line if they are concerned about a loved one. The crisis hotline can be exceptionally helpful in times where a friend or family member may not be able to directly help or relate to the veteran. The Veterans Crisis Line has methods of communicating with veterans or finding them help to meet them where they are struggling.
Understanding the signs and knowing when to call is important. If you are thinking about hurting yourself or experiencing thoughts of suicide, please call right away. If a loved one is talking about feelings of hopelessness, experiencing anxiety or exhibiting extreme agitation, it may be time to call. Helping a loved one through a crisis can feel scary or overwhelming, but the responders at the Veterans Crisis Line are ready to help.
The Veterans Crisis line can be contacted in four ways.
- Call: 1-800-273-8255, Press 1
- Chat Online or visit www.veteranscrisisline.net
- Text: 838255
- Support for Deaf or Hard of Hearing: 1-800-799-4889
Signs of Crisis (When to Call):
- Mood swings/ easily agitated
- Rage, anger, showing violent behavior
- Loss of interest in hobbies, work, or school
- Withdrawing from family and friends
- Increasing alcohol or drug misuse
- Neglecting personal welfare