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What to expect when you connect with suicide prevention coordinator

If you’re having thoughts of suicide, you may feel isolated and alone and think no one understands what you’re going through. There are people who care about you and can help you through difficult times. Many of those people are ready and available to help at each of VA’s 172 VA medical centers.

What is a suicide prevention coordinator (SPC)?

An SPC is someone in your area specially trained and dedicated to finding you the support you need, including counseling and other services. You may see them staffing an information table at a local event or you may have even already connected with one directly. They are your guide to VA resources, and you can find them by visiting our local resources website.

On any given day, SPCs work outside VA in your local community, attending events and collaborating with community groups to share information about VA resources. They work directly with Veterans inside VA facilities, providing details about available VA resources and how to access them, ensuring Veterans at high risk for suicide receive appropriate care.

SPCs are also an important part of Veterans Crisis Line support. If you Dial 988 then Press 1, chat (, or text 838255 to the Veterans Crisis Line and ask the responder for additional support, the responder can help you schedule a call with your local SPC as early as the following day.

How SPCs support Veterans

SPCs create a safe space for Veterans to discuss challenges and provide them with choices to get individualized care. SPCs can:

Help provide basic information, such as where to go for an appointment, what to expect when you get treatment and how to communicate with your providers

Help remove barriers to getting care, like transportation, access to a phone or internet connectivity.

Ensure you’re receiving proper care and act as a personal portal to VA by helping you navigate and coordinate care. Your SPC can help you schedule health appointments. If you move, your local SPC will make sure the nearest SPC to your new home is aware of your treatment plan. And your SPC can help you make a safety plan to help keep you safe in the event of a crisis.  

All contact with SPCs is controlled by you. They are there to work with you wherever you are to connect you to support.

Messages from suicide prevention coordinators

For Veterans who may be hesitant about seeking support, I encourage you to give one of our SPCs a chance to help. If you take the first step to reaching out, they’ll be there to listen and, if you choose, make a plan to connect you to the right resources.

Here are some additional encouraging messages from SPCs:

“VA is there to help all Veterans. Every Veteran feels that they are not the one the care is meant for. It is meant for all of you together. ”

“You are not ‘taking the spot of someone who needs it more’ because the more people who get services here, the more services we can offer down the road.”

“Reaching out and asking for help is difficult. Sometimes you just try it and see if it fits your needs or interests.

“Reaching out is the hardest step. We can only hear you if you tell us what’s going on. One small piece at a time.”

SPCs work in the community and with Veterans directly to make sure everyone from Veterans, their friends and families, caregivers and providers know about VA resources. They’re here for you if you ever need them.

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