Deeds Stabbing Brings Mental Health Issues to Light - 8NEWS - WRIC | News Where You Live

Deeds Stabbing Brings Mental Health Issues to Light

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RICHMOND (WRIC) - Senator Deeds was upgraded to good condition after being stabbed by his son Gus Deeds Tuesday, but now questions are mounting about the state's mental health system. 

Gus Deeds was reportedly sent home after Monday's mental health evaluation because no psychiatric beds were available in the area. 

But the Washington Post reports that three hospitals, all within two hours of Bath County, had beds available.

These reports just raise even more questions about the state and local resources for mental health patients. Experts on this matter say they've seen drastic cuts in recent years.

Mira Signer is with the grass-roots organization National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Their focus is to raise awareness and lobby legislators to increase funding for mental health.

In 2008, lawmakers allocated $40 million in funding after the Virginia Tech massacre, but once the recession hit, most of that funding went away.

"About 37 million was cut from the overall mental health budget between 2009 and 2012," Singer says.

Signer says one in every four families suffer from some sort of mental illness.

"There are still many areas of Virginia that lack basic services such as crisis response, crisis stabilization, crisis intervention, supportive housing, outpatient services."

The Governor's Secretary of Health and Human Resources says since 2010, the state has added funding to the Virginia Department of Behavioral and Developmental Services and the state is also working to add more mental health facilities in rural areas.

Signer says the tragedy involving the senator and his son should urge lawmakers to do even more.

"We've been in this place before. We've been in the place of tragedy, acting kind of reactively. Let's see if we can pull together and have something good come out of this. We don't need another wake-up call."


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