Influences on Call Outcomes among Veteran Callers to the National Veterans Crisis Line


This research explores call outcomes for veterans who call the National Veterans Crisis Line (NVCL). Veterans who receive care from the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) are at increased risk for suicide compared to the general U.S. population after adjusting for age and gender. In addition to enhanced efforts to improve mental health services, VHA efforts to address suicide risk in Veterans included the development of the National Veterans Crisis Line that was designed to help Veterans resolve their immediate distress and connect them with appropriate services.


The association of caller and call characteristics with proximal outcomes of Veterans Crisis Line calls were examined. From October 1-7, 2010, 665 veterans with recent suicidal ideation or a history of attempted suicide called the Veterans Crisis Line; 646 had complete data and were included in the analyses. A multivariable multinomial logistic regression was conducted to identify correlates of a favorable outcome (a resolution or a referral) when compared to an unfavorable outcome (no resolution or referral). A multivariable logistic regression was used to identify correlates of responder-rated caller risk in a subset of calls. Approximately 84% of calls ended with a favorable outcome, 25% with a resolution, and 59% with a referral to a local health care provider. Calls from high-risk callers had greater odds of ending with a referral than without a resolution or referral, as did weekday calls (6:00 am to 5:59 pm EST, Monday through Friday). Responders used caller intent to die and the absence of future plans to determine caller risk. Findings suggest that the Veterans Crisis Line is a useful mechanism for generating referrals for high-risk veteran callers. Responders appeared to use known risk and protective factors to determine caller risk.

Full Reference

Britton PC, Bossarte RM, Thompson C, Kemp J, Conner KR. Influences on call outcomes among Veteran callers to the National Veterans Crisis Line. Suicide & life-threatening behavior. 2013;43(5):494-502.