If you’re a Veteran having thoughts of suicide or concerned about one, reach 24/7 crisis support through the new Veterans Crisis Line (VCL) number: Dial 988, then Press 1.

This shorter, three-digit number provides an easier-to-remember way to access the VCL. We’re working to make sure all Veterans and their supporters know about the new number. Below are answers to some questions you might have about this change.

Why did the VCL get a new number?

The change is a result of the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act. The law authorized 988 as the new three-digit number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (Lifeline). Under the law, all telephone service providers in the U.S. had to activate the number by July 16, 2022.

Because VA administers the VCL through the Lifeline’s national network, the service was affected by this transition.

What does the new number mean for me?

Since 2007, the VCL has supported millions of Veterans in crisis. This new, shorter number increases ease of access and clarity in times of crisis for both Veterans and supporters.

Like the current number, to reach the VCL, Veterans will press 1 after dialing to connect with VCL responders. Though the number is new, the Veterans Crisis Line dedicated service is still the same. And, you don’t have to be enrolled in VA benefits or health care to connect.

Is the old VCL phone number going away?

No. Veterans will still be able to call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1 to connect with responders. The VCL will also still be available by chat (VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat) and text (838255).

What happens if I’m overseas?

The VCL’s 800 number is a continental United States (CONUS)-based toll-free number that remains active. Some international calls may incur a charge, depending on the caller’s location and network provider.

Veterans overseas may contact the VCL through chat at VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat. If you prefer a phone call, you can request this within the chat venue. A responder will call you at the number you provide at no charge.

Be prepared and save the new number in your phone: Dial 988, then Press 1. Remember, you’re not alone. Day or night, the Veterans Crisis Line is here for you.

By Matthew A. Miller is the executive director of VA Suicide Prevention, at the Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention

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Published on Jul. 18, 2022

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  1. WALTER FRANCIS FINAN JR August 4, 2022 at 2:55 pm


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