Government
1:57 pm
Fri March 22, 2013

Nebraska launches crisis hotline for at-risk veterans

A new campaign seeks to connect at-risk veterans with the mental health services they may need.

The “Not One More Life” campaign was announced Friday. By calling the Veterans’ Crisis hotline, using online chat, or text messaging, veterans or their families can connect with counselors.

Nebraska Department of Veterans Affairs director John Hilgert says nationally, 20 veterans commit suicide every day.

“This effort is to raise that awareness. And it’s not just for veterans. It’s for employers. It’s for spouses. It’s for sons. It’s for daughters. And it’s for mothers, and it’s for fathers. Anyone can call that hotline, I tested it just the other day, within around 20 seconds, I was on the phone with a counselor.”

Hilgert says over two-thirds of the suicides are veterans ages 50 and over.

Major General Judd Lyons is Adjutant General of the Nebraska National Guard. Lyons says it isn’t a sign of weakness to seek help.

“It’s in fact a sign of strength. So when we have men and women that are struggling with issues that are beyond their ability to cope with, we want them to know and be comfortable in coming forward and seeking help and seeking assistance, and as important being there with the assistance when they need it.”

The hotline is 1-800-273-8255. Information on the online chat and text options is available at www.vets.state.ne.us/crisis.