Ted Koran, a U.S. Air Force veteran, claims that he repeatedly called the Veterans Crisis Line on April 11, but was placed on hold.
The Veterans Crisis Line is staffed by 52 operators who answer almost 1,000 calls a day.
Koran, who lives in Tampa, Florida, told ABC Action News his wife passed away from cancer six months ago, and he was feeling depressed to the point of suicide (video below).
Koran claims he called a local Veterans Affairs center, which played a recorded message with the hotline's phone number.
Koran called the hotline, but says he was put on hold for 10 minutes. He hung up and called back twice. Koran eventually got a counselor on the line, whom he says was not much help.
Scripps News Online reported that the hotline doesn't have enough people to handle the calls and the backup system often fails.
The Coalition of Veterans Organizations complained about the hotline's failures in a letter to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in 2014, but no improvements were made, reported Scripps News.
According to Stars And Stripes, an average of 22 U.S. veterans kill themselves each day.