By The Editorial Board
July 16, 2016

Veterans make up 8.5 percent of America’s adult population but account for 18 percent of its suicides. In 2014, according to new data from the Veterans Affairs Department, 7,403 veterans killed themselves. That is about 20 deaths a day.

This is a national emergency, and attacking it is the primary mission of the V.A.’s Veterans Crisis Line, a call center based in Canandaigua, N.Y. Through phone conversations, online chats and text messages, trained operators listen and console, contact the police and hospitals if necessary, and steer callers to mental health care. Since 2007, the crisis line has been an all-purpose safety net for many thousands of veterans in free fall.