VA Encourages Crisis Line Use
Montana VA Health Care System encourages all Montana Veterans and non-Veterans to share the news — the Veterans Crisis Line is adding a new number.
Veterans and their loved ones can dial 988 then Press 1 to reach the caring, qualified responders at the Veterans Crisis Line, 24/7. Even after the new number launches, Veterans will still be able to call 800-273-8255 and press 1, chat at VeteransCrisisLine. net/Chat and text 838255 to reach responders.
“The VA is always looking for new and innovative ways for us to care for our Veterans or and improve services to meet Veterans’ needs,” Executive director Dr. Judy Hayman said. “While this may seem like a small change, it can have a tremendous impact on Montana Veterans, their families and our communities. Especially during a time of crisis, having an easy process to get assistance to those who need it most can really save lives.”
The new, shorter number directly addresses the need for ease of access and clarity in times of crisis, both for Veterans and non-Veterans alike. To help Veterans’ access support, the Veterans Crisis Line has been preparing for this change since the inception of legislation.
This decision to update the number is a result of the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act of 2020, which requires all telephone service providers in the U.S. to activate 988 by July 16, 2022 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Because VA administers the Veterans Crisis Line through the Lifeline’s national network, the Veterans Crisis Line is affected by this transition.
Though the number is updating, the Veterans Crisis Line dedicated service is still the same. The Veterans Crisis Line is available 24/7, 365 days a year to provide confidential crisis support to Veterans and their loved ones.
In addition to the recent phone number update, the Veterans Crisis Line is also evaluating a possible new text option for Veterans and their supporters to reach caring, qualified responders 24/7. The implementation timeline is still being determined.
Montana VA serves over 47,000 enrolled Veterans across Montana — an area roughly 147,000 square miles in size. Veterans are cared for by a staff of 1,400 at 18 sites of care across the state. One third of Montana VA employees are Veterans.
Veterans can connect to their VA healthcare records, information, and message their VA care teams 24 hours a day through the MyHealtheVet patient portal (https://www.myhealth. va.gov/mhv-portal-web/howto- use-mhv). Montana VA information, updates, and events are available on the Montana VA website (https://www. va.gov/montana-health-care) and Facebook page (https:// www.facebook.com/VAMontana).