Veteran to veteran, Vets4Warriors provides peer support between vets

Kaylah Jackson
August 30, 2018 - 3:49 pm

Photo courtesy of Vets4Warriors

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If you call Vets4Warriors you’re not going to talk to an answering machine or a phone tree, you’ll be talking with a real-life veteran within 30 seconds.

Vets4Warriors doesn’t identify as a hotline or crisis but rather a 24/7 concierge service offering peer support to service members, veterans, and their families. Whether you're just having a bad day or you're looking for mental health resources, Vets4Warriors is there to answer the call wherever you are.

“All of our conversations our personalized but we try to develop a rapport with our clients…everyone that works here is veterans so we’ve all transitioned from the military to our full-time jobs,” says Lloyd Dean, supervisor mental health specialist, and Army National Guard veteran.

While the guidance you get over the phone from a peer is direct, Vets4Warriors will walk you through the entire process to connect with another vetted organization that can assist you, if necessary. But the connection doesn’t stop after you put the phone down.

Fatima Aguilar, program development specialist for Vets4Warriors says, “We conduct follow up calls. Let’s say someone calls looking for assistance with a resume, and they just need assistance with that. Maybe in a week or two in a few days, we’ll follow up, ‘hey how’s the resume going.”

Vets4Warriors functions as friends checking up on other friends, they’ll follow up with you until you feel you’ve received the guidance you need. Having veterans on the other line can make the conversation much easier, as the organization says “We are who we serve.”

And how that conversation goes is totally up to the caller. Whether you want to share your life story or use a pseudonym during the call, veteran peers are there to listen.

Aguilar, who also serves in the National Guard, started off as a peer with the organization, answering calls during the night shift. She says she can tell within five minutes if someone is comfortable.

“I remember actually having a caller, we talked for a good five months before he gave me his real name,” says Aguilar. But when that service member gave her his real name she responded with “awesome, let's continue the conversation.”

For callers, it’s up to you when you’re ready. The calls are confidential and the organization follows all HIPPA guidelines. They’re American Association of Suicidology certified and part of the Rutgers University of Behavioral Healthcare, so callers can feel at ease talking to individuals who are trained and knowledgeable.

The organization also has an ambassador program to increase the visibility of Vets4Warriors around the United States. While you won’t be a peer, you’ll be a vital piece in promoting the organization to the military community. You can click here to find out how you can become an ambassador.

For more information about Vets4Warriors, you can visit their website or call 1-855-838-8255.

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