Watch CBS News

Veterans Groups Urge Anyone Who Needs Help To Reach Out

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Some veterans groups are seeing an increase in mental health calls from those who served.

On Thursday, 13 U.S. service members were killed in a suicide blast at an airport in Kabul. For many, what's been going on in Afghanistan is triggering.

"We've seen a very, very steep hike over the past week to ten days," said Hannah Sinoway, executive vice president of organization, strategy and engagement at Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

Calls have been pouring in to IAVA.

"Callers are reaching out, just expressing distress, pain, sadness, confusion," Sinoway told CBS2's Alice Gainer.

The organization, created for post-9/11 veterans, says any veteran, no matter when they served or where can call 855-91-RAPID 24/7 or access a chat online, even family members, too.

"These events can be incredibly triggering for folks, and PTSD, you know, comes in all forms. It comes at different times," Sinoway said. "We will just listen to you. There's no judgement. You can call anonymously if you'd like. All of our services are free and confidential."

The people manning the phones are also veterans.

"The Air National Guard, Army, Marine Corps, we have service members from every branch of service," said Amanda Richter, a peer support specialist with New Jersey Vet2Vet.

New Jersey Vet2Vet also provides 24/7 peer-to-peer support, available by calling 1-866-838-7654.

Richter is a veteran of the Air National Guard.

"It's a sister/brotherhood, you know? We can relate with them, so it's more comfortable," she said.

It's not just a phone call; they will follow up and connect you with whatever services you need.

"A lot of people, especially our veterans, they feel that they need to take things on themselves, and they don't have to," said Michael Bocchini, deputy director of New York State Division of Veterans' Services. "Over 800,000 Americans served in Afghanistan. You're certainly not alone in any feelings that you might be having."

The New York State Division of Veterans' Services will also connect you to assistance at the federal and state level.

"If you're on the fence about doing it, I'd say that means you should go ahead and do it," Bocchini said.

They can be reached by calling 1-888-838-7697 or visiting

Even if you don't know what to say to a friend or family member who served right now, simply checking in and asking how you can support them can go a long way.

If you or someone you know is in crisis or need of support, please reach out to the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 or The Wounded Warrior Research Center at (888) 997-2586. You are not alone and help is available.

Veterans Crisis Line can also be reached by texting 838255 or you can chat online at

You can also call local vet centers at 1-877-927-8387.

For additional resources, visit

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.