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Calls to Veterans’ Suicide Hotlines Are Up Since the Taliban’s Takeover of Afghanistan

by Insider Aug 29, 2021
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Calls to suicide helplines have increased since August 16 — the day after Kabul fell to the Taliban. (Getty Images via Insider)
Calls to suicide helplines have increased since August 16 — the day after Kabul fell to the Taliban. (Getty Images via Insider)

Suicide hotlines for veterans in times of crisis have seen a significant uptick in demand since the Taliban’s lightning takeover of Afghanistan, according to the Daily Beast.

The Veterans Crisis Line, a national suicide prevention lifeline run by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, is one of the services that has seen an increase in calls since Kabul fell, the Daily Beast reported.

On August 16, the day after Kabul was taken over by the Taliban, the Veterans Crisis Line received nearly a 12 percent increase in calls when compared to the volume of calls on the same day last year, the media outlet said.

On August 25, the Daily Beast reported that the line had a 17 percent uptick compared to the previous year.

Matthew Miller, the Veterans Affairs (VA) Department’s national director for suicide prevention, told the Daily Beast that it’s uncertain if the increase in calls is directly related to the situation in Afghanistan.

However, it is evident that the mental health impact of the Taliban’s takeover has “weighed heavy” on veterans who may be having suicidal thoughts, the media outlet reported.

Insider’s Oma Seddiq wrote that some U.S. veterans feel President Joe Biden has botched the Afghanistan withdrawal.

Stop Soldiers Suicide, a veteran-led nonprofit group, has also reported a rise in requests for help. It is “projecting a 15-20 percent increase in requests in August, as a result of the crisis in Afghanistan,” Tina Starkey, Stop Soldier Suicide’s chief growth officer, told the Daily Beast.

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