What to Expect

What happens when I call the Veterans Crisis Line?

  • When you call this free, anonymous, confidential resource, a trained responder will answer. The responder will ask you a few questions, such as if you — or a Veteran or Servicemember you know — are in immediate danger of self-harm or suicide. You will decide what to share about yourself and what you want to talk about.
  • If you — or the Veteran or Servicemember that you’re concerned about — are in immediate danger, then the responder will work with you to reduce the immediate risk, help you get through the crisis, make sure you are safe, and help you to connect with the right services, which may include your local VA Medical Center. If you decide to share your contact information, the Suicide Prevention Coordinator from the nearest VA Medical Center will contact you by the next business day.
  • If you — or the Veteran or Servicemember you are concerned about — are in crisis but not at imminent risk for suicide, then the responder will listen to what you have to say, offer support, and help you make a plan to stay safe.
  • For text and online chat conversations, the responder may ask if you’re interested in transferring the conversation to a phone call.
  • You may end the conversation at any time.

How do I contact 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. If you are a U.S. military Veteran or current Servicemember or are calling about one, please press 1 now.”
  • Press 1. There will be a brief pause while the call is routed to the Veterans Crisis Line. A responder will answer your call and provide support as outlined above.

How do I text the Veterans Crisis Line?

  • 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.”
  • A responder will text you back and provide support as outlined above.
  • 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 and all records deleted within the VA system. 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, noting:
    • 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 ensure your information is protected.
    • 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 refer to 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 support as outlined above.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services