September is suicide prevention awareness month. Veterans, community groups and individuals are invited to increase awareness of the Veterans Crisis Line among veterans by helping to place 1,000 crisis line yard signs across Central Minnesota.
Participants are asked to distribute a minimum of five yard signs and those receiving signs are asked to commit to keeping the signs in yards for as long as possible, according to a Veterans Affairs news release. Larger quantities are available upon request.
To order the free signs, contact the St. Cloud Veterans Affair’s Suicide Prevention Team at 320-252-1670 extension 6719 or fax an order form to 320-255-6389. Order forms are also available at www.va.gov/st-cloud-health-care/stories/. You can then make arrangements for pick-up.
The Veterans Crisis Line is a free, confidential resource available to any Veteran, even if they are not enrolled in VA health care or registered with the VA, according to the release. The care continues after the call with the option of connecting Veterans to their local suicide prevention coordinators, who follow up to coordinate care. Veterans in crisis or anyone who is concerned about a Veteran can reach caring, qualified VA responders standing by to help 24/7 by calling 1-800-273-8255 and pressing 1.
Since its launch in 2007, the Veterans Crisis Line has answered more than 5.4 million calls and initiated the dispatch of emergency services to callers in crisis more than 184,000 times. The Veterans Crisis Line anonymous online chat service, added in 2009, has engaged in more than 630,000 chats. In November 2011, the Veterans Crisis Line introduced a text-messaging service to provide another way for Veterans to connect with confidential, round-the-clock support and since then has responded to more than 204,000 texts.