Cheers to U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar. Legislation that she and Sen. John Thune (R-SD) led to improve the Veteran Suicide Crisis Line had been signed into law by the president.
The Veterans Crisis Line is a toll-free number that provides vital support to veterans and their family members 24 hours a day and seven days a week. Recently published emails from the former director of the crisis line revealed that more than one-third of the calls into the VCL roll over to back call centers where staff do not have the expertise or training to handle veterans in crisis.
The bipartisan No Veterans Crisis Line Call Should Go Unanswered Act would require the Department of Affairs to develop a quality assurance plan to identify performance metrics and objectives to improve the effectiveness of the VCL. The legislation would also require the VA to develop a plan to ensure that each call is answered by a qualified person in a timely fashion.
"Our veterans have proudly served our country on the front lines, and sadly, many return home with the invisible wounds of war. For these veterans, access to mental health care and support is critical," Klobuchar said. "The least they deserve is not to be forced to wait at the end of the line during their darkest hours. While there is still more work to do to improve the services that veterans rely on, this bill being signed into law is a step forward in delivering the suicide prevention and mental health care treatment they deserve."
Kudos to Klobuchar, who has been a leader in the fight to improve mental health care for our nation's soldiers.