Veteran Suicide Calls May Increase As Much As 150% This Summer
Veterans Affairs officials anticipate call volume to the Veterans Crisis Line will increase by as much as 150% this summer when officials implement a phone number that is easier to remember.
The National Suicide Prevention Line is implementing a new phone number 988 that officials believe will be easier to remember than 800-273-8255. Veterans who call in will be transferred to the Veterans Crisis Line.
There, the veteran will be able to speak with a counselor with military-specific training and experience with access to unique veteran support resources.
VA officials told Congress call volume will jump this year from 700,000 to as high as 1.7 million now that individuals can more easily access the service.
The service should be nationwide by July 16.
RELATED: Veteran Suicide Follows Change To Controversial Treatment
Federal officials have working on implementing a suicide prevention hotline phone number system that is easier to remember for years.
“We began hiring up for this effort last year,” VA Secretary Denis McDonough told Congress. “We need to increase our full-time workforce by about 460 people … but we have the money and the ability and the authority to get that done.”
VA claims the number of daily veteran suicides are down citing 2019 data. Officials apparently boasted the number is down one suicide making it the lowest level in 12 years, but the average when factoring in all prior service suicides was still closer to 20-a-day.
Regardless of what VA says is an improvement, the suicide rate for veteran sis still almost double that of the remainder of the American public. Again, too high.
It seems clear the use of a shorter 988 number will help veteran remember where to call when experiencing hardship. It also seems clear officials were well aware the use of a shortened suicide prevention call number would dramatically increase use of the suicide services.
I’m glad a solution like this is being used. It seems as if some crack team like the one that developed 911 could have created the 988 a bit earlier than 2022. Just a thought.
In 2016, IG reported 1 in 6 calls to the call center rolled over to backup call centers. Some of those calls went unanswered where veterans left voice messages that were not returned. Staffing shortages and poor training were part of the problem. Now, Secretary McDonough says VA still needs to increase its call center workforce by another 400 plus workers — SIX YEARS LATER.
All the while, calls are expected to more than double in just a few months.
Is VA really taking veteran suicide as seriously as their spending suggests?
The agency has spent tens of millions over the past few years on marketing, showing the public how much the agency is ‘working’ to make a real dent in veteran suicide. But do the numbers show the various costly projects were effective?
Even if the call numbers increase, will VA properly staff the call centers to make the difference needed? Let me know if you are holding your breath on that one.
If the 988 number is not yet working in a region, veterans experiencing a mental health emergency can contact the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255. Select option 1 for a VA staffer. Veterans, troops or their family members can also text 838255 or visit VeteransCrisisLine.net for assistance.
This is how it works you call they call police either you kill yourself or they call police to come over and if you are going to commit suicide they assist by telling the judicial system they were afraid for there life so they shot to kill . Either way as a veteran ,am going to die by some type of lethal means or else…. I join a liberal socialist agenda denounce myself as a American war criminal for fighting for a country where every other country wants in on my country to say I shot them now am the criminal .trump was in office we were hero’s. Obama s anti christ minion biden or the anti christ general in office we are criminals while va Parades around this story like a thrift bag at a discount call price. Hey government why don’t you robo call me some crisis intervention sounds like you would make more money . No .. why ? I don’t deserve a trash bag for a body like myself , why what’s a matter trash bags to expensive from the inflation . Liberals and capitalist hey why run in circles for this story .I forgot sorrow sells
If this took six years then begging for passwords to be used when accessing info on the appointment refill line, you know the same as your ex or millions of fed employees can access with just your social, will take over a decade if ever. They don’t care about a stalker meeting you in their own parking lots either.
The problem with VA especially down south since 2015 is that it has a maggot infestation. Many employees are no more than right wing political soldiers fighting against veterans care and benefits while upper echelons sit on their nuts ignoring or cheerint on the meele. Employees lie so much that perhaps one could even assume that the QAnon movement got started there. Abuse, gaslighting, and denial of care using a myriad of lies and dirty tricks is common. They hire these gangsters to do these things you better believe it. No clue why so many suicide instead of homicide…
Yes my brother you are right. They are waiting for us to die. Somebody need to stop this madness. On my six devote wife found out my trickers and use them to try to get me to do something. We are taxpayers too. That 1970 to 1975 is the number they should clear us and move on! Thanks for all you do for us!
The VA does not care about veterans. The bureaucracy who runs the VA is only in it for money (salaries) – back to the time of Max Cleland (1971-1975) or earlier. Veterans are not a top priority for the VA – they are only interested in cutting costs – hence the closure of big hospitals in the Philadelphia area and NY (Manhattan and Brooklyn). Because these men who run the VA never served they know nothing about war, about sacrifices men and women made for their country, or about the real needs of veterans – they only care about their own PERSONAL needs (money they get from the VA as salary for poor decisions). The VA does not really care about veterans suicides-it is all for show- one less veteran does not bother the Secretary of Veterans Affairs (because it is not his child!). It’s about time they got someone in the position of Secretary of the VA who has some compassion and empathy for others. That’s my conclusion after close to 40 years as a VA patient. Faith H. Leibman, J.D., Ph.D.
Another reason why vets might commit suicide is because this administration is planning to use VA’s healthcare providers on illegals. Even though the VA is in dire need of these professionals, our wonderful leaders want to take them away from vets and put them with illegal aliens.
Could this be why I can’t see my pcp for around a year?
Oh, and let’s not forget about how thousands of vets had to be called recently, all because VA employees didn’t know how to clean colonoscopy machines up in Georgia! This is just a continuation of the incompetence by VA employees!
How the upper echelon of VA wants to shutdown needed clinics around high veteran population areas. Yeah, let’s take their healthcare away and see how many die!
The VA needs to be revamped and or shutdown completely!
Suicide of veterans will never get better while people like VA Secretary Denis McDonough and the employees of the VA like those of the management of FT Harrison VA are in charge, I have written, emailed and called FT Harrison VA over 200 times in the past 2 years for their violations of my civil rights, violations of Federal law DR Hayman and VA Secretary Denis McDonough do not care about us veterans and NEVER EVEN REPLY TO MY CONCERNS therefore when a veteran feels he has been completely let down and ignored by those who are charged to help us veterans choose to do the opposite the Veteran feels his Country and the VA have completely let him down, The VA< GIVING A VETERAN A SECOND CHANCE TO DIE FOR HIS COUNTRY, ergo the high suicide rate a telephone number change will not change things VA Administration needs to get their heads out of their BUTTS.
VA also requires every eligible vet who is legally authorized travel pay to attend VA Appointments far enough from where we live — we are required to use a complex, glitch-riddled “system” online that only works, if at all, one or two times before again it doesn’t work. I have been attempting to get a response from the supposedly contact email & phone numbers for three weeks for the last filing I needed to do. This is another way the VA screws veterans out of money the law requires them to provide to veterans.
I may have to call the suicide crisis line to get any response. That it also doesn’t seem to work suggests the Administration of the VA is determined to remain as corrupt as it was before any of the recent course-corrections were Congressionally forced upon them.
It is enough to make one wonder as well why we have “Veterans Organizations” at all.
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