Washington, DC - Today, Second Lady Karen Pence held a call with the Veterans Crisis Line (VCL) Executive Leadership Team, VCL Speakers Bureau, responders, and staff members from the VCL’s three linked call centers. During the call, she was able to listen and learn from the participants about the important work of VCL in veteran suicide prevention.
The call consisted of Mrs. Pence receiving a briefing about the VCL’s work to provide 24/7, 365 days a year suicide prevention and crisis intervention services to veterans, military service members, and their family members. The Second Lady also learned about the outreach programs and partnerships with community leaders and nonprofit organizations that they have established to further help vulnerable veterans.
Mrs. Pence spoke directly with responders about their personal experiences on taking calls from veterans who are considering ending their life and the challenges that come with it. She thanked them for their important service they provide to our veterans and military community.
The participants of the call then shared information about the VCL’s efforts to work with collaborating partners to provide support to the veteran and military communities, as well as their own staff. The VCL’s National Care Coordination team features an employee wellness program with a focus on emotional, social, environmental, and physical wellness, supporting the readiness and resiliency of VCL staff.
As the Lead Ambassador for PREVENTS, Mrs. Pence shared more on what the PREVENTS taskforce is and how it is leading the change around suicide prevention. PREVENTS recently launched their national health campaign called REACH, which aims to empower veterans and all Americans to play a role in preventing suicide. Click here to learn more about the REACH Campaign.
On average, 20 veterans die by suicide each day, which is 1.5 times higher than the average number of suicides by all Americans. Mrs. Pence recognized these statistics and emphasized that more than ever before, we need to empower and support veterans experiencing suicidal thoughts and eliminate the stigma that comes with talking about mental health.
- Dr. Matt Miller, Director, VA Suicide Prevention Program
- Dr. Lisa Kearney, Acting Director, VCL; Deputy Director, VA Suicide Prevention Program
- Daniel Roloff, Health Science Specialist, Speakers Bureau Rep, VCL Canandaigua
- Anthony Williams, Health Science Specialist, Speakers Bureau Rep, VCL Atlanta
- Sidney Morgan, Health Science Specialist; Speakers Bureau Rep, VCL Topeka
On March 5, 2019, President Trump signed Executive Order 13861, establishing a three-year effort known as the President’s Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End a National Tragedy of Suicide (PREVENTS). The REACH public health campaign is a critical component of the PREVENTS Roadmap that will serve as catalyst to engage all Americans in preventing suicide. Click here to learn more.
About the Veterans Crisis Line(VCL)
VCL is a critical component of the nation’s largest integrated suicide prevention network with linkage to over 400 Suicide Prevention Coordinators (SPC) at every VA Medical Center. The VCL is connected with the Suicide Prevention Line. Approximately 21.5% of VCL employees are veterans themselves and employees who respond to calls, online chat, and texts are trained mental health providers and social workers.
The Veterans Crisis Line can be reached by dialing 1-800-273-8255 and pressing 1, text at 838255, and online chat by visiting www.veteranscrisisline.net.