Unfortunately, in "Vet world," you sometimes run into problems that you need help with right
away, but don't have a CLUE who to ask or where to go.

First, here are a few resources for emergencies (it may help you to read through this info
now, when there's not a crisis, so you're prepared when/if one pops up).  We sincerely,
dearly hope you and your family never need these, but want to provide them just in case!

#1 - If your Veteran is in immediate danger of hurting himself or someone else...

Call 911 (or your local emergency number).  Make sure when you call that you explain that
he/she is a Veteran.  And, if your Veteran is suffering from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress
Disorder) or TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury), give them that information also.  There was a
case recently of an OIF Veteran who had a break down and went out into his front yard
with a weapon (thankfully, he didn't realize it wasn't loaded).  In his mind, the police that
responded were actually insurgents in Iraq.  His wife had called the authorities to explain
that he was a Veteran with PTSD and that the weapon was not loaded.  If she hadn't done
so, the outcome could have been really bad.

#2 - If your Veteran needs inpatient psychiatric care...

If your Veteran is depressed, suicidal, or homicidal to the point that he/she feels that they
need to seek inpatient care (or if you, as his/her loved one believe they are to that point),
here's how you do it...

Go to the closest VAMC (Veterans Administration Medical Center).  If you don't know where
the closest facility is,
CLICK HERE to go to the VA locator.  If your closest VAMC is too far
away, just go to the closest "civilian" emergency room.  When you arrive at the emergency
room, explain to them what problems your Veteran is having and ask that he/she be
admitted for psychiatric care.  If they don't have immediate space in the VAMC, they will
refer you to somewhere close by - typically a treatment facility with which they have an
ongoing working relationship set-up.

One word of caution - you may want to use words like "despondent," "severely depressed,"
or "highly agitated," but not specifically say that he/she wants to commit suicide or
homicide.  Doctors are required to report suicidal/homicidal individuals to authorities for
their own protection (and the protection of others)... and the resulting people who arrive in
uniforms, etc., can really upset some Veterans (especially those that are already in a
fragile state).  You have to make the decision that is best for you / your Veteran, but we
like to give you specific information like this so that you're not caught off guard!

#3 - If your Veteran needs quick access to counseling...

For counseling, you have two VA-sponsored options.  In my opinion, your first choice is to
contact your closest Vet Center.  There are 232 Vet Centers located throughout the US,
Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.  They are set-up to help returning Veterans
with any combat-related mental health issue.  
CLICK HERE to find your closest Vet Center.  
When you call, explain that you / your Veteran is a combat veteran of Operation Iraqi
Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom and that they need to be seen as quickly as

Your second choice is to contact the mental health department at your closest VAMC
CLICK HERE to find it) and schedule an appointment.  The VAMC may also be able to
refer you to your local VA outpatient clinic, many of which have psychologists or
psychiatrists on staff.  If you / your veteran is not already enrolled in the VA medical
system, however, you will have to complete that enrollment before an appointment can be
scheduled... which can delay the process. But, recently the VA has started allowing
Veterans to enroll in the medical system through their website.  So, if you're not enrolled, I
would complete the online enrollment process
(https://www.1010ez.med.va.gov/sec/vha/1010ez/) before calling. (You will have to fax or
mail in your finished, signed enrollment.)

#4 - Other numbers that may come in handy in an emergency...

The National Suicide Hotline (800-273-TALK)
**When calling, choose option "1" and you will be routed
to VA suicide prevention specialists.**

The National Veteran's PTSD Hotline (800-293-1438)
**The hotline is answered 24x7 by combat wounded or disabled Vets
who can give you info about your closest PTSD related resources.**

The National Domestic Violence Hotline (800-799-SAFE)
Last but not least, here at Family Of A Vet, we have a quick-response
e-mail address set-up.  While those who respond to messages are not
"qualified" experts, we are all spouses of Veterans and have "been
there and done that."  We will help you if we can and, if not, we will help
you find someone who can address your need or problem.

Please send urgent requests to:
911 -at- FamilyOfAVet.com

FamilyOfaVet - Real world info about PTSD, TBI, & life after combat
FamilyOfaVet - Real World info about PTSD, TBI, & life after combat.

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