Gov. McDonnell Announces Mental Health Initiatives

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Dec. 10, 2013

Governor Bob McDonnell is proposing an increase to mental health funding, as well as the creation of a task force to look at ways to prevent mental health crises.

Citing the Virginia Tech massacre, McDonnell said Virginians have experienced "tremendous heartache" as a result of mental health tragedies.

Gov. McDonnell is proposing more than $38 million in state funding over the next two-year budget cycle for critical mental health services. The task force would include mental health and law enforcement officials among its members.

The governor's initiative follows the November death of Senator Creigh Deeds' son, Gus, less than one day after he had been released from emergency custody.

Virginia mental health officials have already announced changes in response to the death of the Sen. Deeds' son.

"I think that the fact that this happened in Virginia to a prominent person and to his family and they weren't able to find resources really shows the problem in Virginia," said Alice Anderson, executive director of Mental Health American of Charlottesville-Albemarle.

Anderson says, while Charlottesville has a pretty good mental health system, there are problems that need to be addressed both locally and statewide. She believes the proposed plan is a good way to start.

"I'm very excited because what he's recommending in his executive order and in his budget is what we've been asking for," said Anderson.

To read more about the proposal, click HERE.

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