Gender differences in veterans' use of the Veterans Crisis Line (VCL): Findings from VCL call data

Academic Article


  • Objective: To compare characteristics of calls to the Veterans Crisis Line (VCL) by caller gender and identify potentially unique needs of women callers. Method: Retrospective review of clinical data collected during VCL calls, comparing call characteristics between women and men veteran callers. Results: The data included 116,029 calls by women veterans and 651,239 calls by men veterans between January 1, 2018-December 31, 2019. Timing (hour/day/season) of VCL calls was similar between women and men callers. We observed gender differences in reason for call, with the most salient differences in reasons related to interpersonal violence, including sexual trauma (e.g., military sexual trauma as reason for call – prevalence ratio (PR) for women vs. men = 9.13, 95% CI = 8.83, 9.46). Women callers were also more likely than men callers to screen positive for suicide risk (PR = 1.28, 95% CI = 1.26, 1.29), receive a higher suicide risk assessment rating (PR = 1.05, 95% CI = 1.02, 1.07), and be referred to a VA Suicide Prevention Coordinator for follow-up (PR = 1.09, 95% CI = 1.09, 1.11). Conclusions: Analysis of VCL call data indicated both similarities and differences across genders in call characteristics, including interpersonal relationships and experiences of abuse and assault as particularly salient factors prompting women veterans' calls to VCL. This study also suggests the presence of increased suicide risk among women versus men veteran VCL callers.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Dichter ME; Krishnamurti LS; Chhatre S; Hoffmire CA; Monteith LL; Bellamy SL; Iverson KM; Montgomery AE; Agha A; McCoy I
  • Start Page

  • 65
  • End Page

  • 70
  • Volume

  • 74