Hospitals, Policy

Some calls to VA suicide hotline go to voicemail

Ironically, the call center was the subject of an Oscar-winning 2013 film, “Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1.”

mental illness

The Department of Veterans Affairs is having more problems with customer service, and this time, it could be deadly.

The VA’s suicide hotline center in Canandaigua, New York, has gotten so many calls that some calls have been going to voicemail. “We substantiated allegations that some calls routed to backup crisis centers were answered by voicemail, and callers did not always receive immediate assistance” from the crisis center or its backup, the VA’s Office of Inspector General reported last week.

Management of the center didn’t provide enough initial or ongoing training for social service assistants on the hotline, the OIG found. There also were questions about how much training backup staff received.

Ironically, USA Today reported, this center was the subject of an Oscar-winning 2013 film, “Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1.” The HBO documentary took home the Academy Award last year for best documentary, short subject.

In this video, the filmmakers discuss their movie.

Photo: Flickr user Ryan_M651