On February 28, 2015, two excellent Veteran-themed films were up for Oscars. The box-office blockbuster American Sniper graphically illustrates the difficult readjustments Veterans often have to make in transitioning to civilian life. Less well known was a short subject documentary. Developed by HBO in cooperation with the VA, Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1 spotlights the moment-to-moment work of the 24/7 Veterans Crisis Line, a VA program in upstate New York. The industry leaders voted to give the Oscar to this powerful documentary.
During this intense 40-minute film, we see and overhear actual responders and counselors handling difficult conversations, exemplary of the some 22,000 calls the Center fields each month. In accepting the award to strong applause from the Hollywood audience, director Ellen Goosenberg Kent especially thanked the crisis line staff who, “…care for Veterans as if their own lives depended on it.” She then said, “This incredible honor really goes to the Veterans and their families who are brave enough to ask for help.”
In the next post in this series, we’ll talk about what it’s like to be a responder for the Veterans Crisis Line.
In the meantime, Veterans and their loved ones can call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, chat online, or send a text message to 838255 to receive confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. For more information, visit https://www.veteranscrisisline.net.