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VA sets up suicide crisis hot line.

* To ensure veterans with mental health crises have immediate access to trained coordinators, the Department of Veterans Affairs has announced a 24-hour, national suicide prevention hot line.

The hot line is based at the Canandaigua VA medical center in New York state. Staffed by mental health professionals, it operates seven days a week, 24 hours a day.

In addition to staffing the hot line, the suicide prevention coordinators take part in training clinicians and non-clinicians on warning signs for suicide, guide veterans into care and work within facilities to identify veterans at risk for suicide.

The Canandaigua facility is already a VA center of excellence focused on suicide prevention, mental health education and research.

With the nation's largest mental health program, the VA recently announced plans to provide suicide prevention coordinators at each of its 153 medical centers, joining together more than 9,000 mental health professionals.

In June the VA announced it will hire 100 new employees to provide readjustment counseling at each of its 207 community-based Vet Centers.
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Publication:DAV Magazine
Date:Sep 1, 2007
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