Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital
VA Taking Life-Saving Campaign to Streets of Chicago
The VA is advertising its Suicide Prevention Hotline through Jan. 9, 2011. Chicago is one of 11 cities around the country that features these advertisements.
"I know of one Veteran who saw these signs on a bus shelter, called the hotline, and came to VA for help that same day," said VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki. "That Veteran had been walking out to the desert to take his own life. There are thousands of other Veterans like him who are still with us today as a direct result of the hotline. It's important that we get the word out to everyone who put their lives on the line in defense of this Nation."
Since its inception in July 2007, VA's Suicide Prevention Hotline, 1-800-273-TALK (8255), has saved more than 10,000 Veterans and provided counseling for more than 180,000 Veterans and their loved ones at home and overseas. The hotline is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week by trained mental health professionals prepared to deal with immediate crises. The hotline also offers an anonymous online chat feature available at www.suicidepreventionhotline.org. (Look for the chat feature in the upper right hand box.) While implemented for Veterans, any person who calls the hotline and needs help will receive it.
At Hines, we have a Suicide Prevention Team that is committed to assisting veterans in need 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Suicide Prevention staff, which consists of social workers, Maryann Blacconiere, Iris Travis and Mandy Kalins, also does extensive outreach in the community to ensure that veterans know that VA is here for them when they need it the most.
VA has also promoted awareness of the hotline through national public service announcements featuring actor Gary Sinise and TV personality Deborah Norville. The transit advertisements and both PSAs are available for download via You Tube and at www.mentalhealth.va.gov/suicide_prevention.