Suicide Prevention - Women Veterans Health Care
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Women Veterans Health Care

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Suicide Prevention

Preventing suicide is one of VA's top priorities. The rate of suicide among women Veterans is about double that of non-Veteran women. Women Veterans may experience challenges related to their military service, including readjustment issues, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), military sexual trauma (MST), trouble sleeping, or even physical injury. These unique challenges and experiences may increase the risk of suicide.

Recognize the warning signs of suicide. If you are worried about yourself, a friend, or loved one, VA has resources and treatment to help.

How do I get help right now?

If you are in a crisis or thinking about hurting yourself, help is available right now. You are not alone.

Connect with the Veterans Crisis Line anytime, day or night. You can call, text, or chat online with caring, qualified VA responders. Many of them are Veterans or family members of Veterans.

Or you can:

  • Call 911.
  • Go to an emergency room.
  • Go to your nearest VA medical center. It doesn't matter what your discharge status is or if you're enrolled in VA health care.

How do I access mental health or suicide prevention services at VA?

All service members and Veterans can use crisis resources. It does not matter what your discharge status is or if you are enrolled in VA health care.

All former Service members and Veterans are eligible for one year of free mental health care services, regardless of discharge status. Even if you are not eligible to receive other VA health care, you may still be able to get certain health care services, like care related to military sexual trauma (MST) (that is, experiences of sexual assault or sexual harassment during military service).

Go to a Vet Center near you. You can use Vet Centers if you served in a combat zone, even if you aren't eligible for VA health care. MST-related care is also available at Vet Centers, and you don't have to have combat service.

If you already have a VA health care provider, consider telling them about your symptoms. They can connect you with a mental health provider within the primary care clinic or help you make an appointment for VA mental health services.

If you have questions or can't find what you're looking for, you can call, text, or chat online with the Women Veterans Call Center (WVCC) at 855-829-6636 to get help and find available resources and services in your area. Trained women representatives can connect you with your Suicide Prevention Coordinator to find local counseling. They can also help you with issues such as:

  • Enrolling in VA health care if you have not already
  • Setting up a medical appointment in your area
  • Answering questions about eligibility (including questions about disability ratings) and other VA benefits like employment, education, and home loans

WVCC representatives are available Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. ET, and Saturday, 8:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. ET.

What ongoing services does VA provide for suicide prevention?

  • Suicide Prevention Coordinators: Specially trained coordinators at every VA medical center who can help you. To find one, visit the Veterans Crisis Line: Local Resources page and filter by Suicide Prevention Coordinators.
  • Counseling and therapy: Evidence-based therapies can help you overcome suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Learn about other treatment options.
  • Veteran self-help resources: Free mobile apps, trainings, and videos to help you with life challenges and find useful information to manage symptoms and stress.
  • Resources for loved ones: Resources to support family members or friends who are supporting a Veteran, or coping with the loss of a loved one by suicide.
  • Make the Connection: Real stories of strength and recovery from Veterans. Navigate here and select female under the gender category to see women's stories. You can also filter by era, branch, and combat experience.
  • Peer Specialists: Peer specialists are Veterans who have experienced and recovered from a mental health condition. As members of your treatment team, their role is to help you design your own recovery plan, using tools such as personal goal setting and targeted coping skills training. They can also connect you with VA and local resources to help you find meaningful roles and activities in your community. You can request a referral from your VA health care provider to work with a peer specialist.

Where can I find more information, help, and resources on suicide prevention?

  • Reach Out: Use this site to get support that is designed specifically for you. If you're a family member or a friend, you can also find resources that are designed specifically for the Veteran in your life.
  • S.A.V.E. training: Learn more about suicide, how to identify someone who may be at risk, and how to help someone in crisis. Take the training here.
  • Mobile Apps: Learn tools that support mental health and help you cope and manage stress.
  • Veteran Training: Access self-help tools and resources for different topics like anger, parenting, and problem solving.
  • Resources to help spread the word: Access the Community Outreach ToolkitM and the Social Media Safety Toolkit.
  • Lethal means: Learn information about safely storing medications and firearms.
  • Tips on how to talk to children who have been affected by suicide or an attempted suicide of someone they know.