Tester Slams VA Suicide Hotline Failures, Demands Immediate Accountability

(U.S. Senate)-Senator Jon Tester, a senior member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, released the following statement after it was reported that nearly half of the calls veterans place to the VA’s suicide hotline are forwarded to back-up call centers due to poor employee work habits:

“It is unacceptable to have even one veteran in crisis call the suicide hotline and not get the immediate help they need. Now I know these are tough jobs and it takes a special person to handle the stress of saving a life, but if any of these staff members can’t do their job, they need to be replaced. This is a life or death situation.”

The VA estimates that 22 veterans commit suicide each day.