Monday, May 05, 2008

Suicide Hotline for Veterans in Crisis

In 2007, suicides among active-duty soldiers reached their highest level since the Army began keeping such records in 1980, according to The Washington Post. Last year, 121 soldiers took their own lives, nearly 20 percent more than in 2006. Attempted suicides or self-inflicted injuries in the Army have increased since the Afghanistan and Iraq wars began.

Last year, about 2,100 soldiers injured themselves or attempted suicide, compared with 350 in 2002, according to the U.S. Army Medical Command Suicide Prevention Action Plan.

Because I volunteer as a community counselor, I am well aware of the needs of many fellow citizens in my own community. I wanted to make my readers aware of a fairly new 24-hour national suicide/crisis hotline based here in Upstate New York (Canandaigua) and created specifically for veterans coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan (all other veterans are welcome, also). It's staffed by mental health professionals who know how to assess and respond to crisis situations for veterans at risk of suicide, and incorporates the best practices and research findings in suicide prevention and intervention with the goal of reducing suicides among veterans nationwide.

The phone number is 1-800-273-TALK. It's the only national suicide prevention and intervention telephone resource that is funded by the federal government. In addition to the national hotline, the Department has established a website, at to provide information on suicide prevention awareness.

In yesterday's Times-Picayune there was a story about the increasing number of calls coming in to the Canandaigua-based hotline.

The warning signs of a potentially suicidal person can be seen here at the American Asssociation of Suicidology. On the same page you can also read how you can help someone in your life who may show the danger signs.

Don't hesitate to call or to give this number to a veteran if you know one who's struggling with life upon his or her return from war.

You may be the barrier between life and death for this person.


Soldier suicides could trump war tolls: US health official [AFP]

Family pushing for changes after soldier's suicide
By Patrick McCreless
The Cullman Times

WWII Vet Commits Suicide outside VA Clinic by Brandon Friedman

Talking Veterans Down From Despair

Being there for veterans - A VA suicide hotline set up last year is credited with saving 726 lives so far

Local priests heed calls to military chaplaincies