October Festival Guide

Gov. McDonnell launches investigation into mental health policies

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) — Gov. Bob McDonnell has instructed his secretary of health and human resources to conduct a full internal review of the events leading up to Tuesday’s incident involving State Senator Creigh Deeds and his son Gus.

In an interview with the Washington Post Thursday, McDonnell also hinted at potential changes to his final budget which he will unveil in a view weeks.

“If there are budget needs in this upcoming budget, I can address those. I’ve still got two more weeks before I’ve got to submit the budget, and if there are glaring problems, I can address those,” McDonnell said in the interview.

McDonnell’s remarks come as the state inspector general also announced an investigation.

All of this comes as information surrounding the state of mental health policy and funding is under increased scrutiny in the Commonwealth.

According to the Treatment Advocacy Center in 2005 there were 1659 psychiatric beds in Virginia. By 2010, those beds were reduced to 1407.

That represents about 17 beds per 100,000 Virginians or about 37 percent of the recommended amount of beds the TAC advocates for.

“Folks have said for years that the mental health system is not where it needs to be,” Virginia’s National Alliance on Mental Illness Executive Director Mira Signer said.

Signer said a review by NAMI indicated that between fiscal years 2009 and 2012, mental health funding had been reduced by $37 million –virtually wiping out the $42 million added to the state’s budget for mental health following the Virginia Tech shooting.

“From fiscal year 2009 to fiscal year 2012, we saw about $37 million disappear from the mental health budget,” Signer said.

3 comments

  • shirley terry

    This is a common occurence & happens every day. Why did they wait till it happened to a Senator before they decided to look into it? The situation is sad all the way around no matter who it happens to. Nobody cares about people anymore especially our governments…:(

  • airjackie

    This is heartbreaking and it shows how if a Senator can’t get help others folks don’t matter. Now the rush to fix the problem that was known. Gov. McDonnell/his wife/staff/AG legal fees for their criminal acts is costing taxpayers millions and the State could have used the Health Care funding but the Governor turned it down knowing it was tax payers money used in the Program. Senate Deeds had to lose his son and almost died himself for this issue to get attention. Demand elected lawmakers take care of the business of the State and stop this political moves.

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