Veteran Put on Hold by VA Suicide Hotline

James A. Haley Veterans' Hospital / va.gov

A Florida veteran says he was repeatedly put on hold for up to ten minutes at a time when trying to call the Department of Veterans Affairs suicide hotline.

U.S. Air Force veteran Ted Koran told ABC Action News in Tampa Bay that he was experiencing suicidal thoughts following the death of his wife six months ago and tried to reach out to the VA hotline.

ABC Action News reports:

The U.S. Air Force veteran first called the James Haley VA Center in Tampa, where a recording gave him the 800 number to the hotline.

Koran said he was placed on hold for 10 minutes.

"I had to sit there patiently, in emotional distress, in tears, wanting to give up, desperately needing someone to talk to," Koran said.

Koran said he hung up and redialed the number two more times.

"They had me on the [verge] of saying to hell with it," he said.

Koran said when he actually reached a counselor, she did very little to comfort him.

A Scripps national investigation recently uncovered that calls to the veterans hotline often overloaded the system and had to be rerouted to other call centers, while vets' calls were placed on hold.