Tuesday, October 19, 2010

VA Taking Life-Saving Campaign to Street



WASHINGTON (Oct. 19. 2010)- This week, nearly 1,200 life-saving
advertisements will go up on city buses, bus shelters, rail and subway
stations across the Nation displaying a message of hope for those who
have served their country and may be facing an emotional crisis. The
Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is advertising its Suicide
Prevention Hotline through Jan. 9, 2011.

"I know of one Veteran who saw these signs on a bus shelter, called the
hotline, and came to VA for help that same day," said VA Secretary Eric
K. Shinseki. "That Veteran had been walking out to the desert to take
his own life. There are thousands of other Veterans like him who are
still with us today as a direct result of the hotline. It's important
that we get the word out to everyone who put their lives on the line in
defense of this Nation."

Since its inception in July 2007, VA's Suicide Prevention Hotline,
1-800-273-TALK (8255), has saved more than 10,000 Veterans and provided
counseling for more than 180,000 Veterans and their loved ones at home
and overseas. The hotline is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week
by trained mental health professionals prepared to deal with immediate
crises. The hotline also offers an anonymous online chat feature
available at www.suicidepreventionhotline.org
<http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org> . (Look for the chat feature
in the upper right hand box.) While implemented for Veterans, any person
who calls the hotline and needs help will receive it.

VA has marketed the hotline through mass transit campaigns since summer
of 2008, increasing the number of calls and lives saved with each city
the campaign has reached. VA is partnering with Blue Line Media
(www.BlueLineMedia.com) for the campaign, a transit advertising
<http://www.bluelinemedia.com/transit-advertising-media_4.html>  company
that specializes in helping business and government tell their stories
through transit advertising media, such as buses, bus shelters, benches,
subways, trains, airports, billboards and more.

VA has also promoted awareness of the hotline through national public
service announcements featuring actor Gary Sinise and TV personality
Deborah Norville. The transit advertisements and both PSAs are available
for download via You Tube and at
www.mentalhealth.va.gov/suicide_prevention.

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