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Monday, October 29, 2007

Services for Veterans

To ensure veterans with mental health crises have immediate access to trained coordinators, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will establish a 24-hour, national suicide prevention hot line. “This is another significant step to ensure that veterans, particularly the newest generation of combat vets returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, receive accessible and compassionate care for their mental health concerns,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Jim Nicholson. The hot line will be based at the Canandaigua VA Medical Center in New York state. Staffed by mental health professionals, it will operate seven days a week, 24 hours a day.

In addition to staffing the hot line, the suicide prevention coordinators will take part in training clinicians and non-clinicians on warning signs for suicide, guide veterans into care and work within facilities to identify veterans at risk for suicide. The Department's 153 medical centers will link veterans on that same day or the next the local Suicide Prevention Coordinator in that catchment VA is notified for immediate follow up.

Veterans can access these services by dialing 1-800-273-TALK and pressing option #1.

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