What we do at NVF and the Lifeline for Vets

The National Veterans Foundation’s mission is to serve the crisis management, information and referral needs of all U.S. Veterans and their families through:

  • Management and operation of the nation’s oldest toll-free, vet-to-vet helpline for all Veterans and their families.
  • Public awareness programs that shine a consistent spotlight on the needs of America’s Veterans.
  • Outreach services that provide Veterans and families in need with food, clothing, transportation, employment and other essential resources.

The Lifeline for Vets:

The National Veterans Foundation’s (NVF) Lifeline for Vets helps Veterans of all eras, their family members and active duty service members, some while serving overseas in combat deployments.  The Lifeline for Vets assists Veterans with needs including medical treatment, PTSD counseling, VA benefits advocacy, food, shelter, employment, training, legal aid, suicide intervention and more.

The need for the National Veterans Foundation’s services has never been greater. 

  • More than 2.5 million Americans have served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • Estimates are that 1 out of every 5 Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans suffers from Traumatic Brain Injury, Post Traumatic Stress or major depression.
  • About 7% of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans are unemployed.
  • An estimated 50,000 Veterans are homeless on any given night.
  • 22 Veterans a day, men and women, commit suicide.

The Lifeline for Vets provides a unique and much-needed service for these Veterans, because:

  • It is non-governmental.
  • It provides a proven Vet-to-Vet service model.
  • It gives Veterans a referral source that provides local and national, situation-appropriate solutions for a host of problems Veterans face.

Vet-to-Vet Works

The Vet-to-Vet service model has proved effective since the VA’s Vet Center outreach program was started in 1979. (The Vet Center program was developed during the Carter Administration for the Veterans Administration by NVF Founder Shad Meshad, and continues to be one of the VA’s most effective Veteran service programs.) Unfortunately, Vet Centers are not available in every community and many Veterans are not aware of them.  Veterans who are seeking help often want to talk to someone who has been there and understands.  Especially when it comes to mental health issues and suicide prevention, having another combat Vet on the phone improves the chances of receiving the help that is being offered.

The Lifeline for Vets is an “Everything Vets” database. Lifeline for Vets counselors have at their fingertips one of the most comprehensive databases in existence of local, national, community-based, and government resources. Veterans can call the Lifeline for Vets and receive help with financial problems, mental health issues, receiving their VA benefits and healthcare, employment, housing, family counseling and many other issues.

The goal of the Lifeline for Vets counselors is to provide an appropriate solution for the Veteran who is calling the hotline.  This solution could be as simple as finding the closest VA facility, or as complicated as connecting them with a number of local resources to assist with a financial, legal or medical/psychological problem they may be having.  Our counselors try to follow up with every Veteran who calls the hotline to see if the solution provided worked, or if additional resources need to be provided.  For example, a Veteran who calls for a VA facility may find he or she needs transportation help after the initial call, or a counselor's help completing VA paperwork.

The Lifeline for Vets leads to sustained improvement in the lives of Veterans, military members and their families by providing real solutions to the problems they face after leaving the military and readjusting to civilian life.