An investigation shows a VA suicide hotline sent suicidal veterans phone calls to voicemail instead of providing immediate help to those veterans in their worst time of need.
And instead of a returned phone call, the majority of those veterans who called the VA suicide hotline never received a returned phone call after being sent to voicemail.
Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, said the report “leaves many of the most important questions unanswered, namely what happened to all of the veterans who were sent to voicemail or just gave up without leaving a message?”
“No veteran in crisis should ever have to wait for service or be transferred without a positive handoff, told to call another organization, or — worst of all — have their call terminated without receiving any assistance,” said Rep. Miller.
The VA Office of Inspector General of Healthcare Inspections began investigating the crisis call center last year after complaints by veterans that they were placed on hold, or transferred to voicemail, or not given appropriate help when most in need.
The Office of Special Counsel also received complaints, prompting the IG to further investigate.
Investigators determined that during busy times at the center, veterans would get redirected to a backup center, or sent to voicemail and sometimes never got a return call, the report said.
According to the Armed Forces Foundation, a veteran commits suicide every 65 minutes and more than "2,500 active-duty military personnel have committed suicide since 2001."
To think that the Department of Veterans Affairs would send veterans having suicidal thoughts to voicemail is more than disturbing, it is absolutely immoral.
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