Local non-profit teams up with Killeen PD to help vets with mental illnesses

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Statistics show 22 veterans commit suicide a day. With more than 25,000 veterans living in Killeen, these issues hit home.  

“As long as we can save one veteran, we’ve won,” says Hope Torres, of Veterans Crisis Line-Killeen. 

Torres has a passion for helping former soldiers out of troubling situations. She’s part of a non-profit group teaming up with Killeen officers. 

“It’s not a normal counseling session. It’s ‘Let’s get to what the real problem is. What did you see out there? What did you smell? Is that what’s going on now?,'” says Torres.

Whenever police respond to a crisis call involving a veteran, Torres also goes to take the strain off officers and providing immediate help to those who need it. 

“It can take anywhere from 30 minutes to deal with the person to six hours, if they have to take them to the hospital. So that’s one officer down, which can put anywhere from 20 extra calls spread for the other officers,” Torres said. 

Torres mans the non-profit’s hot line 24/7, often times spending up to eight hours talking and trying to reason with people. 

“It’s the moment where they’re intoxicated or they took medication and they’re getting ready to walk out of the house or they’re getting ready to tell someone goodbye. That’s when we need to be there. We can’t wait,” Torres said.  

The non-profit has been up and running for two years. In that time, counselors say they have saved dozens of lives.

“14 out of are 16 were suicidal. Everybody is still here. We take that as a success,” Torres said. 

The Veterans Crisis Line is only partnered with KPD right now, but group leaders have hopes to expand their service to police departments across Bell County.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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