SAN ANTONIO - For every soldier killed this year in Iraq or Afghanistan, back home 25 veterans killed themselves.
Five years ago, the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs started a crisis hotline. Those struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder or contemplating suicide could call 24-7 and talk with a counselor.
However, especially for younger veterans in recent years, having to talk on a phone became a barrier.
This gave Brad Beasley, the owner of CrossLink Media, an idea. His small San Antonio tech company developed a way for veterans to text message.
"We found that most people these days prefer to text rather than talk," said Beasley. "The way the program works is exactly like sending a text message to a friend or family member."
So far, more than 85,000 text messages have been sent to counselors at the crisis center, and while there's no telling how many lives it has saved, counselors at the VA said there is no doubt it has.
"I know it has. I know it has," stressed Larry Stokes. He heads the suicide prevent program at the Audie Murphy Memorial Veterans Hospital.
Stokes said the key is providing veterans the information they need when they need it and by any means possible.
“Once they get the information, we're able to bring them in and we're able to coordinate care. It's a wonderful thing. It's a wonderful thing," he said.
The only regret Beasley has is that the crisis line wasn't around 30 years ago.
"I had a cousin who was a Vietnam vet. He committed suicide after being in all sorts of trauma after coming home. It got to the point where he couldn't handle it anymore, and unfortunately he made the worse decision he could make."
Beasley said he doesn't want any veteran to make the same decision and hopes before they would they will now first send a text.