Veterans Crisis Line is Transitioning
As of July 16th the Veterans Crisis Line and Suicide Prevention Line went to an additional phone number. Suicide Prevention Coordinator Jinae Plumhoff and Public Affairs Officer Barry Venable from the St. Cloud V.A. joined me on WJON for our Voices for Veterans program on WJON. Plumhoff says the additional line is "988". She says it has been added to give an easier to remember number to utilize. Plumhoff says for veterans they should dial 988 and then press 1 to be routed to those specific responders.
Plumhoff says the 1-800-273-8255 phone number that has been used as a crisis line is still available for use. The 988 number is the National Suicide Prevention Life Line that can be used by veterans and non veterans. Barry Venable says the Veterans Crisis Line piggybacks off that National Suicide Prevention line infrastructure. He says the "press 1" option is set up to get veteran specific responders on the line.
Types of crisis that can be addressed by veteran responders includes suicide, psychosis, increased alcohol or drug use, mental health symptoms, or just needing someone to talk to. Plumhoff says the goal for her and her colleagues is to get these needs met no later than the following day following the call. She says the responder on the phone will help that person immediately process the crisis they are dealing with.
If you'd like to listen to my conversation with Jinae Plumhoff and Barry Venable from the St. Cloud V.A. the conversation is available below.