BeltFloor1EAST ST. LOUIS – With Veterans Day approaching, State Senator Christopher Belt is reminding residents about the Illinois Governor’s Challenge, which created the Veterans Crisis Line and online training resources for organizations interested in supporting service members, veterans and their families (SMVF).

“Our veterans have sacrificed a lot for our freedom, and it is our duty to provide them with the support they deserve,” said Belt (D-Swansea). “This initiative is a lifeline for those facing challenges, offering help and services when they need it most.”

The statewide Veterans Crisis Line serves SMVF and those who support them. The crisis line is free, confidential and available 24/7. Callers do not need to be enrolled in VA services to use the Veterans Crisis Line. For support, SMVF can call 988 directly and then press 1, text 838255, or chat with a trained professional online at . 

The Governor's Challenge has partnered with PsychArmor, a national nonprofit providing education and training to improve the outcomes of military-connected individuals, to offer free online courses to prevent suicide among SMVF. The online training program is open to anyone, with short courses geared toward health care professionals, mental health providers, social workers, educators, clergy, community members and others who work with service members and veterans in need or their families. Training courses are available by visiting

“The Governor's Challenge has successfully raised awareness of suicide among veterans and how each of us can play a role in helping veterans in crisis,” said Terry Prince, director of the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs. “We invite everyone to join this crusade and protect those who have protected us.”

For more information and to get involved with the Illinois Governor’s Challenge, visit