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VA Lawmakers Ready to Make Changes in Mental Health Care - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

VA Lawmakers Ready to Make Changes in Mental Health Care

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When lawmakers return to the state capitol Wednesday morning, one issue will hit especially close to home. Less than two months after a mental health crisis led to tragic loss for the family of state Senator Creigh Deeds, members of both parties are ready to make some changes. Deeds will return to the state capitol Wednesday, for the first time since the tragedy.

Governor Bob McDonnell has set aside millions in new funding to improve Virginia's mental health system, several lawmakers have proposed their own ideas, and now, a group of more than three dozen mental health experts is ready to do its part.

The governor's task force on improving mental health services and crisis response met for the first time Tuesday in Richmond. The group has until January 31 to come up with a series of initial recommendations to guide Virginia in improving its mental health procedures, programs and services. It's work that will begin immediately, and for those in Virginia government, it's personal.

“Senator Deeds being here gives everyone a personal commitment. Based on the facts, what do we do about it so that the next family doesn't have to endure this kind of heartache?” McDonnell said.

A number of lawmakers have filed bills to address mental health concerns, many in response to the death of Deeds' son in November, after he was released from emergency custody. Austin "Gus" Deeds attacked his father and then killed himself.

Deeds has filed four bills aimed at addressing mental health and crisis response services. 

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