Vet Is Sent to Voicemail Calling Crisis Hotline and Kills Himself

September 02, 2016

Vet Is Sent to Voicemail Calling Crisis Hotline and Kills Himself

"Tom Young put his life on the line for his country and when he needed his country's help we weren't there for him," said Kenneth Hoffman, an attorney for the Young family.  

The family of Army veteran Tom Young, who served seven years of service and two deployments, is suing the Veteran’s Administration claiming that Young had contacted them on four separate occasions for help and did not receive a return call until the day after he was killed from throwing himself in front of a commuter train.  

"He took his life and the day after, we got a call from the VA that a bed was available and then about 20 minutes later, we got a call from the suicide hotline returning his call," said Will Young, his brother.


30-year old Tom Young had suffered from suicidal thoughts, alcoholism, depression and PTSD upon returning home.  He had reached out for assistance from the VA several times and was told the first three times that he didn’t qualify for help because he didn’t have suicidal thoughts.  When returned with suicidal thoughts on the fourth attempt for help, he was put on a waiting list.

That’s when Tom called the VA Crisis Hotline and his call was sent to voicemail.  Tom then killed himself and the VA’s contractor returned the call the next day. His family is suing for negligence in a wrongful death suit for $18 million dollars.

VA undersecretary Dr. David Shulkin said what happened to Young was “totally unacceptable” and “there was a two-week period of time where calls went to voicemail.” Shulkin blamed a contractor. 

"I feel like he did everything he was supposed to do. He called the number; he went to the VA he went to the hospital," says Will. "I feel that the system gave up on my brother not my brother gave up on himself."

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2 Responses

Robin Keller
Robin Keller

September 05, 2016

I can not believe how badly our vets are treated! What a disgrace the VA is! We should send all the Veteran Administration out on deployment and see what happens to them! RIP Tom! Prayers to the family!

Joyce Breckenridge
Joyce Breckenridge

September 03, 2016

I truly believe this and am Ver y disheartened by your loss. Your unnecessary loss. The VA keeps saying it has come a long way, when reality proves it has not. I am a nurse whose husband is 100% disabled by a stroke. His short term memory is gone but not his long term. He struggles daily. I fight the system on his behalf and it’s been months getting him follow up care. God bless you all in your loss I am sure there are many others with that share your story and pain.

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