Earlier this year, we broke the story of one veteran’s suicide attempt after he was ignored by the VA’s suicide hotline.
The VA’s suicide hotline has had a long history of problems – reflective of the VA’s problems as a whole. Back in February, an investigation found that roughly one in six calls to the VA’s suicide hotline went to voicemail. Out of roughly 450,000 calls a year, that’s an enormous amount of veterans having their calls unanswered.
To no surprise, the VA’s texting service is deeply flawed as well. The Daily Caller reported that:
The Department of Veterans Affairs’ crisis hot line didn’t answer up to 30 percent of texts from desperate veterans, according to a new government watchdog investigation.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report Monday, which found that “tests of text messages revealed a potential area of concern.”
The crisis hotline received 13,000 texts in 2014 and 16,000 in 2015. To test whether the VA was actually responding to veterans in serious need, GAO sent a series of test text messages to the hotline. Out of a total of 14 messages sent, four were ignored.
That’s an ignore rate of 28.6 percent.
The VA’s problems with mental health are on top of their problems in providing physical health. Over 300,000 veterans have died waiting for care from the VA, and they’re committing suicide at a rate of 22 a day.
Problems with the VA’s suicide hotline have just been uncovered in the past year. Considering the information that was gradually revealed about problem’s with the VA’s healthcare services, we shouldn’t be surprised to find out this problem is worse than we initially thought.
If our government can spend trillions on war to send our soldiers to war, are we really supposed to believe that they can’t afford to pay for a few more phone operators? I would gladly be paying my taxes if that’s what it was going to instead.