Topeka VA searching for crisis hotline responders

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – A Veterans Crisis Line call center will be opening in Topeka. The Topeka VA held a job fair Thursday in the hopes of filling 140 full time jobs.

They are looking for people with background in mental health fields like social work, mental health counselling and psychology.

You have to really rely on tone and pick up on other key things that may not be as visible if you’re doing face to face therapy,” said VA Team Operations Coordinator Garrett Dickinson. 

Currently the VCL fields 2,200 calls a day between two call centers in Georgia and New York.

While 20 veterans commit suicide in the US everyday, research shows 14 of those veterans had no connection to the VA. Along with dealing with the immediate crisis, the crisis line also helps enroll veterans in other VA services.

“At the end of the conversation they will ask if they want a referral to the suicide prevention coordinator and so the next day when I come in to work I start pulling up the log of everyone who has called the night before and I start calling them back,” said Suicide Prevention Specialist Dr. Stephanie Davis.

Along with counseling and outreach, responders can and do dispatch ambulances for callers who are in need of emergency help.

“The Veterans Crisis Line responders have initiated over 82 thousand rescues, that’s 82 thousand lives we know have been saved by the crisis line,” said Davis.

Training to become a crisis responder takes seven weeks. The VA expects to start fielding calls in Topeka by mid January. Click here to find the job openings.

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