211 Big Bend is working in partnership with the Florida Department of Veteran Affairs and the Tampa Bay Crisis Center to provide the MYFLVET helpline to Florida’s 1.7 million veterans. Through the MYFLVET helpline, Veterans receive emotional and mental health support such as suicide prevention counseling, crisis counseling, and supportive counseling.
By calling the Florida Veteran Support Line at 1-844-MYFLVET (693-5838), or 211, veterans can talk with Counselors who are fellow veterans with similar experiences and who are ready, willing, and able to help them in their time of need. Some may need help with transitioning back to civilian life. When our veterans hear that the voice on the other end of the phone has traveled down the same road and overcome the same fears, it gives them hope. When a veteran is in crisis and feels no one understands, knowing that the Counselor they’re talking to is a veteran creates a safe environment to have difficult conversations.
Not only can veterans receive emotional and mental health support when they call the MYFLVET helpline, 211 Big Bend also offers our veterans comprehensive information and referrals to VA and community-based resources to address basic needs such as food, shelter, rental assistance, and utility payment assistance. For veterans who want to know what benefits they are entitled to because of their service, they can call 211 and get connected with VA and non-VA agencies that have programs that may be able to assist them. Veterans who don’t have a vehicle or are unable to drive can register for the Lyft Ride Program and receive 3 free rides a month to VA and non-VA medical appointments, employment agencies, and food pantries.
As a Counselor with 211 Big Bend and the Florida Veteran Support Line, it has brought tears to my eyes on several occasions knowing that I have safely de-escalated one of my fellow veterans during their crisis moment. Some have had doubts when they call, but in the end, they see that there are people out there who really care about them. Some call back weeks or months later just to say thank you. One of the duties of a Veteran Care Coordinator is outreach in the communities we serve. We like to put a face to the work that’s done over the phone lines and bring awareness to 211 Big Bend. In the last couple of months, while doing our weekly outreach at the VA Tallahassee Outpatient Clinic, I’ve been greeted with a smile and given a handshake by a couple of veterans who told me they wouldn’t be here if it hadn’t been for the helpline. This is what 211 Big Bend and MYFLVET are all about and I’m so proud to be a part of such a great organization. Our veterans proudly and selflessly served our country. We are proud to have the opportunity to serve those who have given so much to all of us.
211 Big Bend Veteran Care Coordinator