In a time when the VA says it's having trouble retaining mental health professionals, a local organization is stepping up, providing resources to nonmilitary people who want to better support veterans.
On Wednesday, local leaders like Mayor Kevin Faulconer, Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins and Congresswoman Susan Davis put their support behind the “Help You Help Veterans” helpline, an idea executed by the San Diego-based PsychArmor Institute.
“We really believe we will be saving lives, and that’s why we set out to do this,” said Marjorie Morrison, the PsychArmor CEO.
The team understands that when veterans are suffering, many will not talk to a mental health care professional – at least not at first. They’ll instead turn to a neighbor, coworker, friend or family member.
“We really believe Americans want to help and want to do what they can to help veterans, but they don't know how,” said Morrison.
So her group put together the hotline, staffed by health providers with masters and doctorate degrees.
If you call, they'll give you advice, resources and general help if you, the nonmilitary person, want to better understand how to best support a veteran in your life.
“I got a call from a nurse who just wanted to work with veterans and find out how she can apply to work there. We get calls from family members,” said Diego Flores, an education and resource counselor.
He said they have gotten calls from all over the country. Counselors can also give advice on welcoming back and reintegrating military veterans.
The helpline’s number is 844-PsychArmor (844-799-2427). Calls are received between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, as well as 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday. To learn more about the program, visit its website.