National Veteran Suicide Prevention Hotline

Hero of Military Medicine

The Hero of Military Medicine Award is presented to the National Veterans Suicide Prevention Hotline for serving as a critical resource for veterans and active-duty troops in dire need of help. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline operate the hotline.

The Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) Veterans Health Administration (VHA) has founded a national suicide prevention hotline to ensure veterans in emotional crisis have free, 24/7 access to trained counselors. Veterans can call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and press "1" to be routed to a trained VA mental health professional who can assist the Veteran 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

So far, more than 403,000 people have called the hotline, and more than 222,000 of these callers have identified themselves as veterans, family members, or friends of veterans. The hotline has led to more than 14,000 rescues of actively suicidal veterans.

The hotline also operates an online Veterans Chat program, which provides veterans, their families, and friends with the ability to communicate anonymously online in real-time with trained VA mental health professionals. Veterans Chat can be accessed through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline's web page at http://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/veterans/default.aspx.

Through the hotline and Veterans Chat, VA can connect veterans and their families with important services, including suicide prevention coordinators, as well as general inpatient and outpatient psychiatric services at VA medical centeras and community-based outpatient clinics.

The hotline, which is part of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, was started in 2007 as a partnership between VA and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).