VA Chat Service Added To Suicide Prevention
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  1. #1

    Exclamation VA Chat Service Added To Suicide Prevention

    WASHINGTON (August 31, 2009) - The Suicide Prevention campaign of the
    Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is expanding its outreach to all
    Veterans by piloting an online, one-to-one "chat service" for Veterans
    who prefer reaching out for assistance using the Internet.

    Called "Veterans Chat," the new service enables Veterans, their families
    and friends to go online where they can anonymously chat with a trained
    VA counselor. If a "chatter" is determined to be in a crisis, the
    counselor can take immediate steps to transfer the person to the VA
    Suicide Prevention Hotline, where further counseling and referral
    services are provided and crisis intervention steps can be taken.

    "This online feature is intended to reach out to all Veterans who may or
    may not be enrolled in the VA health care system and provide them with
    online access to the Suicide Prevention Lifeline," said Dr. Gerald
    Cross, VA's Acting Under Secretary for Health. "It is meant to provide
    Veterans with an anonymous way to access VA's suicide prevention

    Veterans, family members or friends can access Veterans Chat through the
    suicide prevention Web site (
    <> ). There is a Veterans tab
    on the left-hand side of the website that will take them directly to
    Veteran resource information. On this page, they can see the Hotline
    number (1-800-273-TALK), and click on the Veterans Chat tab on the right
    side of the Web page to enter.

    Veterans retain anonymity by entering whatever names they choose once
    they enter the one-on-one chat. They are then joined by a counselor who
    is trained to provide information and respond to the requests and
    concerns of the caller.

    If the counselor decides the caller is in a crisis, the counselor will
    encourage the Veteran to call the Suicide Prevention Hotline, where a
    trained suicide prevention counselor will determine whether crisis
    intervention techniques are required.

    The pilot program, which has been in operation since July 3, has already
    had positive results. In one instance, the online counselor determined
    that a Veteran in the chat required immediate assistance. The counselor
    convinced the Veteran to provide the counselor with a home telephone
    number and then remained in the chat room with the Veteran while the
    hotline staff called the number and talked to the Veteran's mother. The
    hotline counselor worked with the Veteran's mother to convince the
    Veteran to be admitted to a medical facility for further treatment.

    "The chat line is not intended to be a crisis response line," said Dr.
    Janet Kemp, VA's National Suicide Prevention Coordinator at the VA
    medical center in Canandaigua, N.Y., where VA's trained counselors staff
    the chat line 24 hours a day, seven days a week. VA's suicide
    prevention hotline is also staffed continuously.

    "Chat responders are trained in an intervention method specifically
    developed for the chat line to assist people with emotional distress and
    concerns," Kemp said. "We have procedures they can use to transfer
    chatters in crisis to the hotline for more immediate assistance."

    Both Veterans Chat and the VA's Suicide Prevention Hotline have been
    established under the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which was
    established through collaboration between VA and the Substance Abuse and
    Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) of the Department of
    Health and Human Services.

    Since becoming operational in July 2007, VA's Suicide Prevention Hotline
    has received more than 150,000 calls, resulting in 4,000 rescues.

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    All Marine, All The Time...

  2. #2
    Who do the Vets call if they're stressed because they're getting screwed over by the VA like most vets do. The Pope? Naw, even the Pope couldn't make the VA better.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by HST View Post
    Who do the Vets call if they're stressed because they're getting screwed over by the VA like most vets do. The Pope? Naw, even the Pope couldn't make the VA better.
    Here you go!!!

    Washington, DC Office
    Congressman Ike Skelton
    U.S. House of Representatives
    2206 Rayburn House Office Building
    Washington, DC 20515-2504
    Telephone: 202-225-2876

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    All Marine, All The Time...

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