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SAMHSA News - July/August 2008, Volume 16, Number 4

Vets Suicide Prevention Hotline Helps 55,000+ in First Year

The Veterans Suicide Prevention Hotline, 1-800-273-TALK, is providing immediate, often life-saving help to veterans and their loved ones.

More than 22,000 of the 55,000+ calls came to the hotline directly from veterans. Other calls came from those seeking help for veterans who are friends or family members.

The first-of-its-kind hotline, launched in summer 2007, is a collaborative effort of SAMHSA and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to meet the special needs of veterans who are in personal crisis.

Among the specialized services provided is the capability of connecting veterans to their local VA Suicide Prevention Coordinator for priority followup and monitoring to ensure that they receive ongoing care at local VA medical centers.

The hotline provides national, around-the-clock access to crisis counseling and behavioral health services for all veterans and their families. By calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and pressing “1” at the prompt, the caller is automatically connected to a VA-operated call center staffed by specially trained professional crisis workers.

For more information, read SAMHSA News online, January/February 2008, or visit

As SAMHSA News went to press, SAMHSA was convening “Paving the Road Home: The National Behavioral Health Conference and Policy Academy on Returning Veterans and Their Families.” The next issue of SAMHSA News will present highlights from the conference. A Webcast of the conference will be available soon on the SAMHSA Web site at

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