|Responders at the National Veterans Suicide Prevention Hotline help veterans in distress talk through their issues and lead them to the help they need. Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK.|
“My very first phone call was one hour and 45 minutes and it was a gentleman who wanted to blow up the central [Veterans Affairs] office in Florida and take himself with it.”
Answering this call from her desk at the Canandaigua, NY call center for the National Veterans Suicide Prevention Hotline, Beth Olson is much more than the “good listener” she describes herself to be. Down the phone line, her first caller started talking about his kids and the explosives strapped to his body.
“It’s a very strange situation to be on the other side of the phone when someone is in such turmoil. It’s not hectic, it’s calm. It’s almost like a dance; you have to keep up with them and make sure you make the right decisions.
“He’d only been back a few months from Iraq.