When you contact the Veteran Crisis Line, your call gets answered.
Amid a controversial story released this week, some Veterans may be misled to believe calls to the crisis line go completely unanswered. My fear is that these headlines could discourage Veterans in crisis from using this vital resource in their time of need.
When someone calls the Veterans Crisis Line, they are prompted to “press 1” if they’re a Veteran. The call is then answered by a trained professional at a VA-run call center. If the call is not answered in 30-seconds, the call is then forwarded “rolled over” to one of the call centers part of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to ensure the Veteran is connected with a trained professional. The personnel at these back-up call centers are all U.S. based and trained to handle callers in crisis. This “roll over” is put in place to ensure that Veterans are being connected to a crisis intervention responder when the VCL staff are assisting other Veterans.
Veterans want to speak with the staff at the Veterans Crisis Line, and VA knows that, which is why there is a call center being built in Atlanta. The new call center, along with additional personnel, will help VA achieve its goal of having every call answered by staff at a VA-run center. Until VA can guarantee sufficient resources to service 100 percent of their call volume, the back-up call centers will be ready to assist.
The crisis line had issues in the past with busy signals and voice mail, but those issues have been resolved since being brought to light earlier this year.