In the aftermath of the horrific stabbing of Senator Creigh Deeds (D) by his 24-year old son, who then fatally shot himself, Governor Bob McDonnell created a $38 million proposal to improve how mental health patients are treated in the state of Virginia.
McDonnell has less than a week to get together his two-year budget proposal before introducing it to the Virginia General Assembly. McDonnell has said that he isn’t making this proposal directly because of the incident with Austin Deeds. Speaking to The Washington Post, McDonnell said, “This is about fixing the system for all Virginians. Overall, Virginia has a very, very good and competent mental health system. . . . But we’re always looking for ways to improve it.”
If the proposals are passed, authorities would be able to hold someone under emergency custody for two additional hours and there would be more psychiatric beds and crisis centers available. $1.7 million would be donated to buying equipment that would make it easier and faster to evaluate patients.
Lastly, McDonnell proposed the creation of a mental health task force. The task force will help improve the mental health services in Virginia and will hopefully prevent more crises in the future. When Terry McAuliffe (D) takes office on January 11th, he has said he is going to follow with an order of his own.