What to Expect

What happens when I contact the Veterans Crisis Line?

When you call, chat, or text the Veterans Crisis Line, one of our trained responders will help you through any personal crisis, even if it does not involve thoughts of suicide. You decide how much you want to share — we’re here to listen and to help.

If you are in danger — or the Veteran or Service member you’re concerned about is in danger — the responder will work to make sure everyone is safe. The responder will help you get through the crisis and then help you connect with the services you need, either from your local VA medical center or elsewhere in your community. If you decide to share your contact information, the Suicide Prevention Coordinator at the nearest VA medical center will contact you by the next business day.

If you — or the Veteran or Service member you are concerned about — are in crisis but not at imminent risk for injury or suicide, then the responder will listen, offer support, and help you make a plan to stay safe.

What happens when I call the Veterans Crisis Line?

Dial 1-800-273-8255. You will hear this recording:

“You have reached the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, also servicing the Veterans Crisis Line. If you are in emotional distress or suicidal crisis or are concerned about someone who might be, we’re here to help. Please remain on the line while we route your call to the nearest crisis center in our network. Attention: If you are a U.S. military Veteran or current Service member or are calling about one, please Press 1 now to speak with the Veterans Crisis Line.”

Press 1. There will be a brief pause while the call is routed to the Veterans Crisis Line. A responder specially trained to support Veterans and Service members will answer your call and provide the support described above.

What happens when I text the Veterans Crisis Line?

Send a text to 838255. You can say as much or as little as you like to get the conversation started. You will receive a text back that reads:

“VA Crisis Center: I'm here to help. If in danger, call 911. For more info, call 800-273-8255. (Press 1). Please keep msgs under 160 characters. STOP to cancel.”

You may text STOP at any time to end the conversation. If you do, you will receive this free message in response:

“Free Msg: VA Crisis Center: You have successfully unsubscribed and will receive no more messages. More info email VHA.SuicideHotlineStaff@va.gov. Conversation ended, this text dialogue has been deleted. For more help, call 1-800-273-8255 and press 1.”

How do I chat online?

Go to VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat.

Read the chat terms of service. Please note:

  • The Veterans Crisis Line does not collect personally identifiable information unless you provide that information to the responder.
  • Security controls, including encryption and authentication, are in place to protect your information.
  • Any contractors acting on behalf of VA in administering the Veterans chat service are subject to the same legal requirements VA follows for maintaining the privacy and security of your information.

Check the box next to “I agree to the Terms of Service” and click the button to start your confidential chat.

A new screen will appear, asking for your first name or a nickname so the responder knows how to address you. Click “Send” to start the chat. A chat box will appear with either a responder ready to chat or a window letting you know that someone will be right with you. A responder will reply to your message immediately and provide the support described above.