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House Passes Bill to Improve Veterans Crisis Line

September 26, 2016, 3:25 PM HST
* Updated September 26, 3:29 PM
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homeless sad man veteranRep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) spoke on the House floor today urging passage of H.R. 5392, the No Veterans Crisis Line Call Should Go Unanswered Act.

The congresswoman is a cosponsor of the bill to help increase responsiveness and performance of the Veterans Crisis Line, the 24-hour, free and confidential hotline for veterans in need of suicide prevention and crisis resources.

The bill passed the House unanimously this evening, Monday, Sept. 26.

“Just a few days ago, a Hawaiʻi veteran called the National Veterans Crisis Line for the first time, and waited 24 minutes before her call was answered,”said Rep Gabbard. “Others who call in are met with a voicemail message. This is unacceptable. The No Veterans Crisis Line Call Should Go Unanswered Act would establish quality standards and metrics to make sure that every call to the Veterans Crisis Line is answered quickly and by a live, trained employee. With an average of 22 veterans who take their life every day, we must act. Their lives depend on it.”

The No Veterans Crisis Line Call Should Go Unanswered Act directs the Department of Veterans Affairs to develop:

  • A quality assurance document for carrying out the toll-free Veterans Crisis Line (VCL), including at backup call centers; and
  • A plan to ensure that each telephone call, text message, and other communications received by the VCL, including at backup call centers, is answered in a timely manner by a person, consistent with the guidance established by the American Association of Suicidology.

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