New suicide prevention hotline for veterans


White City, Ore.– Local veterans who may be struggling with depression and thoughts of suicide will soon have easier access to support.

In the past veterans who needed to talk to someone in an emergency could call the Southern Oregon Rehabilitation Center also known as the VA DOM in White City.

Right now a recording gives the caller the number to a suicide prevention hotline, but forces the caller to hang up first.  Now with the implementation of “Option 7” callers who could be in danger can get help faster.

U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley, working with the VA DOM and a local suicide and substance abuse hotline, announced a new direct connection at a press conference this morning.

Beginning Friday, when a veteran in distress calls one 1-800-273-TALK they will get the help they need quicker.

“A significant impact when vets need help the most,” says Senator Merkley.

“We are dealing with people who are about to commit suicide and we work with them and figure out a way to help them take a step forward and not a step towards suicide,” says Dwight Holton, Executive Director of Lines for Life, a suicide and drug abuse hotline.

A local veteran who has been working to make “Option 7” a reality, says he knows from experience that this hotline will save lives.

“I believe in my heart that it is going to be significant,” says Dan Davis.  “When you have 22 veterans a day committing suicide.”

The White City VA DOM is one of the first places to roll out the new hotline.  It will be nation wide this summer.

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