VA Suicide Hotline Received Over 35K Calls During Afghanistan Evacuation

VA Suicide Hotline Received Over 35K Calls During Afghanistan Evacuation VA Suicide Hotline Received Over 35K Calls During Afghanistan Evacuation (Jonathan Weiss/Dreamstime.com)

By Jeremy Frankel | Tuesday, 31 August 2021 09:20 PM

Calls to the Department of Veterans Affairs suicide hotline skyrocketed in the last two weeks of the U.S. military's withdrawal from Afghanistan.

The Washington Examiner reports that between Aug. 13 and Aug. 29, veterans placed over 35,000 calls to the Veterans Crisis Line. The time frame coincides with the period when U.S. and coalition military forces were working to evacuate U.S. citizens and Afghans in order to protect them from potential retribution by the Taliban.

The Examiner notes that the average number of calls per day placed to the crisis line was 2,060, while the most calls, 2,570, were placed on Aug. 16, the day that Kabul, Afghanistan's capital, fell to the Taliban.

A VA spokesperson told the Examiner that the department analyzes changes in call volume by comparing the day of the week and month with the same time the year before. There were about 2,300 more calls in this two-week period than during the same two-week period last year, a 7% increase.