Call Us: (832) 858-2096

LEAKED: Here’s The HORRIFYING Thing That Happens To One-Third Of VA Suicide Hotline Callers

LEAKED: Here’s The HORRIFYING Thing That Happens To One-Third Of VA Suicide Hotline Callers

It’s no secret that the condition of the Department of Veterans Affairs has deteriorated to the point of scandal during the Obama years, and the bad news just keeps coming.

More than a third of calls to its suicide prevention hotline for veterans are not answered by front-line personnel because of poor work habits and other problems, Military Times reported.

national-suicide-prevention-hotlineThe VA inspector general’s office reported last February that there have been cases of calls going to voicemail in call centers whose staffers didn’t know there was a voicemail system.

Even as calls to the crisis hotline reached 500,000 last year, 50 times the number during its first year of operation in 2007, some hotline workers were fielding fewer than five calls per day, leaving before their shifts ended and routinely requesting permission to take off early.

Greg Hughes, former director of the crisis line, said that last May an average of 35 to 40 percent of crisis calls received rolled over to backup centers where workers have less training to deal with veterans’ problems. Those were the places with the voicemail systems no one knew about.

The House on Monday unanimously approved a bill requiring the VA to ensure that all telephone calls, text messages and other communications received by the crisis line are answered in a timely fashion by properly qualified staffers.

The bill now goes to the Senate. Its sponsor, Iowa Republican David Young, shared a horror story about a constituent who got a busy signal whenever he called the crisis line. Fortunately the troubled vet found help elsewhere.

“A veteran in need cannot wait for help, and any incident where a veteran has trouble with the Veterans Crisis Line is simply unacceptable,” Young said.

The VA said Monday it was increasing staff at the New York-based hotline and opening a new hub in Atlanta. It also pledged to improve training.

David Shulkin, the VA’s undersecretary for health, said that suicide among vets constitutes a public health crisis and that its prevention is a priority at VA.

Let us hope that we will not leave before our shift ends and that we will actually answer the phone. With an estimated 20 veterans committing suicide every day, a lackadaisical approach is unacceptable.

Leave a Reply