Governor McDonnell: Changes to VA's Mental Health System A Prior - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Governor McDonnell: Changes to VA's Mental Health System A Priority

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Governor Bob McDonnell says changes to Virginia’s mental health system are officially in the works.

The effort has intensified since Virginia Senator Creigh Deeds was stabbed by his son, Gus, who then took his own life. Creigh Deeds said earlier this week he feels the Rockbridge Area Community Services Board didn't work hard enough to find his son a bed in a psychiatric wing. Wednesday, the community services board didn't address the issue directly but released a statement saying:

"We look forward to working with Senator Deeds and the General Assembly as we seek to improve the delivery of mental health services throughout the commonwealth of Virginia."

The stabbing and suicide happened 13 hours after Gus was released by the RACS Board from an emergency custody order (ECO). The board said there wasn't a bed for him - but a state investigation into Gus' treatment is underway.

Now, Governor McDonnell says the state needs to take steps to ensure everyone who needs help gets it.

“I do think we need to look at clarifying and enforcing protocols for finding bed space better, I think we probably need to make more bed space in the system available,” said McDonnell.

McDonnell will introduce the next biennial budget in Richmond on December 16. He says more funding for mental health will likely be part of that budget, and plans to make more detailed announcements in the next couple of weeks. With just 43 days left in office, he said these issues are ones that need to be addressed this year.

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