MILLBORO, Va. (WRIC)—The day before he allegedly fatally shot himself and attempted to stab his father, state Sen. Creigh Deeds, to death, 24-year-old Austin C. "Gus" Deeds got a mental health evaluation.
Deeds reportedly received the evaluation at Bath Community Hospital in Hot Springs on Nov. 18, but did not stay overnight because there were no available beds there, or at any other psychiatric facilities in the area.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, budget cuts are causing issues like this. The Commonwealth could be doing more when it comes to helping people who suffer from mental illnesses.
"We actually have more beds than most states," said Mira Singer of NAMI Virginia. "But what we really need to look at is, how are the beds being used and why can't people access them when they need to?"
Bath Community Hospital had six hours to find Deeds a bed before he was legally allowed to walk out of the hospital.
The Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services could not comment specifically on this case, but Communications Director Meghan McGuire said, "If there is no available bed at the time a hospital is contacted, it is not unusual for space to be free shortly thereafter. As a result, nearly all people do find a bed within a reasonable amount of time."
NAMI says Virginia's hospital system provides care for about 1,200 people at any given time, but there are other partners throughout the state that help thousands of other mentally ill patients.
Copyright 2013 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond
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