The following is a press release from the Amarillo VA Health Care System:

AMARILLO, Texas (PRESS RELEASE) — Veterans now have the option to Dial 988 then Press 1 to connect with caring, qualified responders for 24/7 crisis support.

In response to the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act designating the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, the Department of Veterans Affairs has made it more user friendly to access the Veterans Crisis Line.

“The new 988 crisis line number allows our Veterans to have a quick and easy to remember hotline number when dealing with a crisis,” said Nathan Bradley, Amarillo VA Suicide Prevention Coordinator. “There will always be a qualified responder available 24/7 on the other line that can provide confidential crisis support to a Veteran or their loved ones. To reach the Veterans Crisis Line, dial 988 and then press 1 to reach a responder. Veterans also have the option to communicate via text at number 838255, by chat at https://www.veteranscrisisline.net/get-help-now/chat/, or present themselves to any emergency room in the United States. The bottom line is I want our Veterans to know there is always a friendly voice waiting and willing to help.”

VA operates the Veterans Crisis Line through the 988 Lifeline’s national network and thus collaborated to accomplish the successful transition. During two years of preparation, the department has added hundreds of crisis line employees and responder staff, with still more hiring underway, and has strengthened call center infrastructure.

The Veterans Crisis Line is a critical component of the nation’s largest integrated suicide prevention network. It links to more than 500 suicide prevention coordinators across the VA health care system, ensuring coordination into follow-up services as part of a full continuum of care. Individuals who call the Veterans Crisis Line are five times more likely to have less distress and less suicidal ideation from the beginning to end of the call.

While Dial 988 then Press 1 is a new option for contacting the Veterans Crisis Line, the original number: 1-800-273-8255 and press 1, remains available, and Veterans can continue to reach out via chat at VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat or by text to 838255.

(Press release from the Amarillo VA Health Care System)