Here is a suicide crisis line for veterans, and this one suicidal veteran states he has people in AA he can talk to. AA is not equipped to deal with suicidal, depressed veterans. Lack of real professional help for veterans and depending on 12 step programs is costing lives.
Veterans Crisis Line Seeks To Help Those Struggling With Civilian Life, Unemployment, Post-Combat Stress
Posted: 03/ 8/2012 12:06 pm
CANANDAIGUA, N.Y. — Hi, this is Tricia. Thank you for calling the Veterans Crisis Line. What’s going on tonight?
Tricia, a crisis line operator, is talking with someone we’ll call Steven. Her long black hair frames her face as she bends over her desk, eyes closed, listening and then replying softly.
Steven, will you take a few deep breaths for me, it’s really important that I understand what you are experiencing.
In a few cramped rooms inside a dark red brick veterans mental institution built here in the 1930s, Tricia Lucchesi, along with some two dozen mental health professionals and veterans, fields the calls that come in every minute through the Veterans Crisis Line.
Tricia is 52 and has years of experience in teaching and mental health care; her son is an enlisted airman in the Air Force. Her headset is decorated with blue sparkles. She listens, oblivious to the bustle and ringing phones around her. When she responds she speaks slowly, pouring warmth down the phone line.
What is it Steven, that is making you so desperate that the only way you can think of is to kill yourself?
Seventeen thousand times a month, at all hours of the day and night, the operators answer the callers, listening intently, absorbing the anger and despair, gently shifting them back toward life.
Okay, Steven, I hear that you want to kill yourself tonight and I want to be able to help you not feel that way.
The VA has made huge strides in providing services to the new and Vietnam-era veterans who are demanding medical and mental health help in record numbers. But its facilities, and especially mental health therapists and consultants, are often overwhelmed by the demand.
“Many of the veterans feel very frustrated when the system doesn’t work for them,” said a crisis line responder. “Our VA system is strained, a lot of times there’s not enough staffing. It’s a big job, and often there aren’t enough people to do it.”
Steven, do you have someone you can- … Okay, AA [Alcoholics Anonymous]? Oh, good, you have people in AA. How long have you been sober? Seven years! Good for you! And with everything that’s been going on with you, you haven’t picked up a drink for seven years? … You have a bottle of wine? … Was that today? … Have you been drinking today? … Okay, okay … All right, so you stayed sober for seven years and today you were in so much pain you felt you had to pick up a drink … Okay …. Sure … Sure … I hear you’re in a lot of pain and you want to die right now … We have ways to help you and make your life easier, but you need to work with me on this …