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“American veterans are killing themselves at a rate of 22 a day, nearly one every hour.”

That sobering statistic is the message behind a moving new documentary on the Department of Veterans Affairs, which many hope will now serve as a wake-up call for the embattled agency.

The Oscar-winning HBO film “Crisis Hotline” has revealed some appalling practices at the VA that could have dangerous consequences for our nation’s heroes.

Many veterans who are calling an official VA suicide hotline have had their calls for help sent straight to voicemail, the documentary shows.

Pete Hegseth, who has been investigating the agency’s beleaguered practices over the last several years, reacted to the film on Fox and Friends.

“If you’re a veteran who is suicidal, and you’re calling a hotline, and you’re getting a voicemail … How much does that increase the chances of you harming yourself, or taking your own life?” he said.

Hegseth said no one should blame the operators, who are “wonderful people, trying to do the best they can.”

“It’s the bureaucracy that, on top of all of this, is incapable of delivering quality service,” he explained.

“Just the thought of a veteran who’s suicidal getting a voicemail – this is a powerful depiction of what a lot of vets face.”

Watch more, above.

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