This is deplorable and just unacceptable. A suicide hotline that was featured on HBO and profiled in an Oscar-winning documentary evidently isn’t all that. In 2014, 23 calls from vets who were on the verge of suicide went to voicemail and their calls were never answered. The ones that are answered, many times are handled by those untrained in mental health issues. Most vets are put on hold. Let’s see… you have a gun to your head and you are put on hold. Hmmmm. Decisions, decisions. This is just outrageous! A damning report was released on Friday by the Department of Veterans Affairs over this and it is revealing and just infuriating.
From the Daily Mail:
A high-profile suicide hotline has been letting veterans’ calls go to voicemail, a report has revealed.
At least 23 active duty personnel had to describe their angst to a recording device when they phoned Veterans Crisis Line in 2014 – and never had their calls returned.
Those who did get through to the service – which was the subject of an Oscar-winning short documentary – did not receive immediate assistance.
Meanwhile some of the staff in the charity’s back-up crisis centers taking calls at peak times were not sufficiently trained in mental health.
The damning revelations emerged in a Department of Veterans Affairs report on Friday.
This is all going down as there has been a sharp uptick in calls from veterans over the last few years… soldiers who are suffering from various issues and then discover they just can’t deal with them. Officials are now working to overhaul the center’s approach to training and its system for receiving calls. Since launching in 2007, staff at the Department of Veterans Affairs suicide hotline center in Canandaigua, New York, have taken around two million calls and intervened in more than 53,000 cases. Over the years staff have increasingly struggled to handle the huge volume of calls. Now at peak times, calls are routed to six backup crisis centers, where staff do not receive the same level of training as staff at the primary centers. The back-up teams saw a 112 per cent increase in calls in just one year. In 2013, 36,261 calls were re-routed. That figure jumped to 76,887 in 2014 – about one in every six calls. We don’t know how many of these calls went to voicemail or were never returned. Trained staff also saw a 30 per cent increase in call volume over the same period, from 287,070 in 2013 to 374,053 in 2014. The investigation found a long list of problems with the service. Our heroes deserve way better than this.