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VA secretary hopes Oscar-winning film raises suicide awareness

A scene from the documentary short film, "Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1," directed by Ellen Goosenberg Kent.

HBO DOCUMENTARY FILMS

By STARS AND STRIPES Published: February 23, 2015

The HBO documentary “Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1,” an about the Department of Veterans Affairs’ 24-hour call center for troubled veterans and servicemembers, won the Academy Award on Sunday for best short-subject documentary.

The 40-minute film follows hot line responders, capturing private moments in which they react to complex calls and discuss the emotional challenges of their work.

“We are pleased that this film has highlighted the challenges our Veterans can face and the work of our dedicated Veterans Crisis Line staff to save lives and get Veterans into care,” said VA Secretary Robert McDonald in a statement Monday. “We are hopeful that this documentary will help raise awareness of this important issue with the American public. Our Veterans in crisis need to know that there is hope and asking for help makes them stronger.”

Directors Ellen Goosenberg Kent and Dana Perry accepted the award. In her acceptance speech, which was cut short by music intended to keep the ceremony moving, Perry thanked suicide hot line workers and mentioned her 15-year-old son who committed suicide, closing with, “We should talk about suicide out loud.”

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