Young bill to improve Veterans Crisis Line becomes law

David Young

Legislation introduced by U.S. Rep. David Young (R-IA) to ensure that veterans seeking suicide prevention and critical resources have access to a responsive, efficient crisis line was signed into law this week.

Congress previously approved Young’s No Veterans Crisis Line Call Should Go Unanswered Act with bipartisan support, and President Obama signed the measure into law.

Young praised the new law as a victory for veterans, service members and their families.

“I appreciate my colleagues in the House and Senate and the president for working with me to get this widely supported, critical mental health legislation for our veterans and service members across the finish line,” Young said.

The new law will establish a quality assurance process that ensures the confidential toll-free Veterans Crisis Line and backup call centers meet performance indicators and objectives.

Young’s legislation followed an investigation by the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of the Inspector General that revealed a lack of quality control measures to ensure calls were answered promptly and response efforts were properly documented.

Reports showed more than one in three calls to the VA crisis hotline were going unanswered. According to VA data, 20 veterans commit suicide each day.

“Those who have sacrificed in defense of our freedoms deserve the best quality mental health care possible, and I remain committed to ensuring we uphold the promises made them,” Young said.

The new law also calls for the development of a plan to ensure that all calls to the Veterans Crisis Line and backup call centers are answered in a timely manner and meet guidelines laid out by the American Association of Suicidology