Washington, DC – Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY-21) voted in support of H.R. 5392 – the No Veterans Crisis Line Call Should Go Unanswered Act.

“Our district is home to more veterans than any other district in New York, and I am committed to making sure our veterans and their families get the care they deserve,” said Congresswoman Stefanik. “More must be done to combat the tragedy of our nation’s heroes committing suicide, and this commonsense legislation will help ensure that the VA answers our heroes’ calls.”

September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and currently 22 veterans a day commit suicide, a rate of one every 65 minutes.  The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) established the Veterans Crisis Line in July 2007 to provide support to veterans in emotional crisis. Between fiscal years 2008, its first full year of operation, and 2015, the number of calls received by the Veterans Crisis Line increased almost 700 percent, exceeding VA’s expectations. Both the Veterans Affairs Office of the Inspector General (VAOIG) and the Government Accountability Office conducted an inspection of the VCL and found numerous inefficiencies with the hotline.

Congresswoman Stefanik cosponsored this legislation that would require the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to issue a quality assurance document for the Veterans Crisis Line (VCL) and require VA to develop 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.