This crisis line does more than provide a supportive ear. It gets real help to our veterans.
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Veterans Crisis Line

If you can imagine believing that your own strength is what keeps others alive, even at the expense of your own well-being, you might be close to imagining what it's like to live inside the mind of a veteran.

But who gives strength to the heroes who support us should they need it? This catch-22 is exactly the conundrum so many veterans face.

What should happen first is this: Someone dials the number 800-273-8255, and presses 1.


GIFs via Veterans Crisis Line.

It's the number for the Veterans Crisis Line. It's so important that places like this exist — so very important that in 2012, President Obama doubled its staff.

The VCL is exactly what it sounds like. Some of its call responders are veterans, and many more are friends or family members of veterans who can understand what they're going through.

These folks stay on the phone. They follow up. They try to ensure that the person calling is able to get help from local services.

People at the Department of Veterans Affairs are committed to preventing veteran suicide. Even one death by suicide is too many.

While the suicide rate nationwide has been climbing, the suicide rate among veterans receiving health care from the VA has dropped.

The VA is committed to preventing veteran suicide at large, in particular through programs like the Veterans Crisis Line.

Some veterans need even more help. That's where the Veterans Crisis Line comes in.

It's hard to reach these heroes. And it's hard to give them the power to realize that there's so much strength in putting yourself first and taking care of yourself.

"You know when you hit a baseball and you ... get that crack? It's like that when you're able to hear a person smile. And make a difference."

Each of us has the power to reach out to a veteran. If a veteran gets help, things can get better.

I'm sharing because I want every veteran to know about this. It might save that person's life.

:)

If you or anyone you know needs support, pick up the phone, dial 800-273-8255, and press 1 — or visit the Veterans Crisis Line website to reach a caring, trained responder for a confidential online chat and to connect with other resources.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.