VA Crisis Call Center Documentary Wins Oscar


The HBO documentary Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1 picked up the Oscar for Best Short-Subject Documentary at Sunday night’s 87th annual Academy Awards.

The 40-minute film follows staffers at the Department of Veterans Affairs’ 24-hour call center as they speak with veterans experiencing emotional crises.

According to the Washington Post, the call center, based in Canandaigua, New York, fields 22,000 calls a month from veterans and active-duty service members struggling with suicidal thoughts or other emotional issues. A previous Post report found that 22 veterans commit suicide in the United States each day, two-thirds of whom are over 50 years old.

The film’s producer, Ellen Goosenberg Kent, praised the subjects of her film in an interview with USA Today.

“What they were doing was giving people a reason to live,” Kent told the outlet. “They were just brilliant at realizing that there is a shred of hope in this person, and we can build on that, we can keep them alive.”

Julianne Mullane, acting director of the crisis hotline, previously told USA Today that she would increase the number of staffers on call Sunday night in case the film won an Oscar and raised awareness of the hotline.

“Whether we win or not, I just think it’s so great that it’s getting all this attention and that it’s going to help people call in,” Mullane said.

Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1 can currently be seen on HBO. Check out the trailer above.