Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) recently expressed his disappointment in a Veterans Affairs (VA) suicide hotline that has not answered calls in the past few years, as discovered by the department's Inspector General.
“I am deeply saddened and disappointed by the VA IG’s findings confirming that veterans’ calls to a VA-run suicide hotline have gone unanswered in recent years," McCain said. "The VA’s failure to help our most vulnerable veterans is not only unacceptable, but it is shameful. Furthermore, it is shocking that VA leadership only seem to find out about these widespread problems after they come to light in the media. The VA’s inability to run a call center and deal with increasing demand has put our nation’s veterans at greater risk.”
McCain went on to say the findings further support the need for the recently passed Clay Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act, which was agreed upon by all that voted. The act works to strengthen suicide services available within veteran affairs while narrowing down what resources are necessary to make these VA programs more approachable to those who need them. It also seeks to improve the system to interest top psychologists in working with these veterans.
“Unfortunately, the IG’s report shows that there is much more that work still needs to be done to improve suicide prevention services for veterans and change the VA’s culture so that its leaders get in front of problems rather than constantly reacting to them,” McCain said. “I will continue to work with Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Johnny Isakson to ensure that the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act is properly and effectively implemented so that all veterans get the best quality care they have earned and deserve.”