PENNSYLVANIA (WHTM)– Dial 9-8-8 and then press one for the veteran’s crisis line. It’s simple to remember, but a new survey shows only 13% of respondents knew what it was for…and that needs to change.

“Put that memory of that number in their head because so many of these families have veterans in their lives that they can help that veteran by just sharing that number,” commander of VFW Post 477 Rick Olson said.

The nationwide veteran’s crisis line is now 988. The new number offers an “easier to remember and share” resource for veterans in their time of need.

“The important thing is that if they are aware enough that they have some issues and they are aware of the crisis line, they can actually call it,” said Olson.

Veterans dealing with mental health issues can talk with responders trained in crisis prevention and military culture…which is a connection most vets need.

“It’s really good that we have a number that we can call that’s just for us people, you know. Not just like a general counselor but somebody who knows the idealization of the military and what we went through,” retired veteran Derek Peters said.

In 2019 and 2020, over 6,000 veterans died from suicide, according to the Department of Veteran Affairs; so, knowing to call 9-8-8 now is more important than ever.

“It’s more important than it’s ever been because so many of our veteran men and women are serving multiple deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq all over the world. At times, they encounter some very horrific things that they struggle with when they finally return home,” said Olson.

In 2021 there were 48,000 suicide deaths in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Remembering the number 9-8-8 can hopefully decrease that.