Mental Health to be Big Topic at General Assembly - ABC 8NEWS - WRIC | Richmond, Virginia News & Weather

Mental Health to be Big Topic at General Assembly

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RICHMOND (WRIC) - Mental health will be a big topic of discussion in the upcoming General Assembly session and the state's top health official recently made some recommendations to improve the system.

There have been several state investigations into what happened in Bath County after Senator Creigh Deeds' son, Gus, stabbed his father and then took his own life. The incident happened one day after Gus Deeds was apparently released from an emergency custody order after six hours but there are still many questions as to how that happened, and so far there are not many answers.

Governor McDonnell addressed mental health earlier this month and has since proposed $38.3 million in additional funding for mental health, created a task force to look at ways to improve the system, and asked his secretary of health and human resources to investigate what happened in Bath County.

Secretary Bill Hazel recently sent those recommendations to the governor in a letter including:

- Extending emergency custody orders beyond six hours, giving doctors enough time to find a psychiatric bed.

- Completing an electronic psychiatric bed registry that's currently under development, to reflect real time accuracy of available beds

- And conducting a study to determine the mental health needs in each region of the commonwealth.

Those are just three of the 15 recommendations made by the secretary that will most likely be looked at by the governor's task force next month.

For the full list of the mental health recommendations, click here:


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