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Congressman Chris Collins

Representing the 27th District of New York

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Problems Plague National VA Suicide Hotline Leaving Veterans Without Help

Feb 17, 2016
Press Release

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today released the following statement after a VA OIG report released February 11, 2016 found significant issues with the national VA suicide hotline program.

“Once again, the VA’s incompetence is putting our veterans at risk,” said Congressman Chris Collins. “It is unacceptable that veterans calling for help in their darkest hour are in many cases met with a voicemail or unable to get through at all. I will be calling on the Veterans Affairs Committee to hold hearings looking into this matter and will do whatever is necessary to ensure that VA bureaucracy does not threaten the lives of our nation’s veterans.”

The suicide hotline, known as the Veterans Crisis Line (VCL), operates under the Clinical Operations branch of the Office of Mental Health Operations (OMHO) and is physically located at the Canandaigua VA Medical Center. A VA OIG report found that the VCL was understaffed and lacked the ability to handle the high call volume it was receiving. In many cases, veterans were unable to speak with a trained professional in a timely fashion or their calls went to voicemail.

The full report can be read here.