Helping you help a vet

Jonathan Kaupanger
September 27, 2018 - 12:07 pm



Getting help for someone with alcohol or substance addiction problems can be tough.  If the person who needs help is a veteran with post-traumatic stress (PTS), VA has created a program that teaches friends, family and caregivers how to find the right resources.  

Coaching Into Care is a national telephone service specifically for friends, family members and loved ones of veterans in need. The hotline connects you with a licensed psychologist or social worker to help figure out the best method to motivate your veteran to get treatment. 

Call (888) 823-7458, Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (Eastern). On weekends, you can leave a voice message and someone will respond back to you on the next business day. 

There is an email address you can use to seek help, ( but because the phone is more secure, VA encourages anyone who requests information via email to include a phone number.  Personal information like social security numbers or medical diagnoses should not be sent through email.

The calls can vary in length, but normally they are 10 to 30 minutes long, depending on the issue.  There could be more than one call but usually the same coach is assigned to your case.  You won’t receive treatment on the call, but you will get help finding treatment resources in your local area.

Coaching Into Care is often confused with either the Caregiver Support Line or the Veterans Crisis Line.  All three phone services work closely together, but they are different. 

  • The Caregiver Support Line (855-260-3274) is for family members who are caring for a disabled veteran and receiving VA care.
  • The Veteran Crisis Line  (888-273-8255, press 1) handles immediate psychiatric or life-threatening crises.
  • Coaching Into Care (888-823-7458) finds help for veterans who aren’t currently receiving VA treatment.

Coaching Into Care is also recruiting participants for an active study.  If you qualify, the study will not only help you encourage your loved one to get the treatment they need, but you will also be compensated for your involvement. 

Participants must be intimate partners, spouses or other family members of Iraq/Afghanistan veterans who:

  • Have a veteran family member with signs of alcohol or substance abuse
  • Are with a veteran who is not currently receiving treatment for this problem
  • Have daily contact with a veteran and live with or within 30 minutes of them.

If you are interested, first call (215) 823-6343 and speak with a research coordinator to see if you’re eligible.  Next, you’ll take a telephone survey and participate in between 8 and 12 coaching phone calls over the next four to six months.  Each call lasts about 45 minutes. You’ll use a special study website provided by VA and take short lessons on how to best care for yourself and help your loved one get treatment.

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