Suicide prevention hotline for veterans still falling short, more than a year after troubling report

Veterans

By Matthew Leonard

The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) which manages the nation’s suicide prevention hotline for veterans, has been unable to implement seven recommendations from its own inspector general designed to improve the crisis line’s performance, more than a year after a February 2016 investigation found significant problems with response times and quality assurance at the call center, headquartered in Canandaigua.

That 2016 report substantiated allegations that “some calls routed to backup crisis centers were answered by voicemail and callers did not always receive immediate assistance from VCL (Veterans Crisis Line) and /or backup staff.”

The recommendations included addressing gathering better data when callers were routed to backup centers, silent monitoring of responders and ensuring orientation and training goals for staff are being met.

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