COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) – Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Columbia VA Health Care System said call volume to the Veterans Crisis Hotline increased as much as 30%.
They said veterans calling the hotline are feeling isolated right now.
Mental health professionals said they have had to adapt how they reach struggling veterans because of the pandemic.
Andrew Selking was in the Army for more than 20 years. He said near the tail end of his military career he began to have thoughts of hurting himself.
“You need to be in a safe place,” Selking said. “It gives you that extra time. Time is what you need to get better.”
Selking reached out for mental health help. He has been receiving services from the VA for five years now. He said when the pandemic started he began getting those same services virtually through telemedicine.
“It’s actually been a lot quicker,” he said. “My doctor is able to fit in more appointments using telehealth.”