Creigh Deeds Returns To Va. Capitol, Pushes For Mental Health Reform

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January 7, 2014 9:50 am
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Virginia state Sen. Creigh Deeds (D) is expected to return to the state legislature Wednesday, nearly two months after his son Gus committed suicide in an altercation that left Deeds with multiple stab wounds.

In an interview with the Roanoke Times, Deeds said he has been moved others’ stories of struggling with Virginia’s mental health system.

“I’m not by myself in this,” he told the newspaper.

In the wake of the incident, Deeds said a local mental health agency was “responsible” for his son’s death. Gus Deeds underwent a mental health evaluation the day before the altercation with his father, but was released when officials said there were no psychiatric beds available in the area. Local hospitals later reported having available beds, although they were not contacted about accepting a patient.

“My son was let go that night,” he told the Roanoke Times. “I think that was irresponsible.”

Deeds has since taken up the mantle of mental health reform since the incident. He’s already introduced legislation: one bill would extend the time an individual can be held under an emergency custody order to 24 hours, while another would require the state to build a registry tracking available psychiatric beds in real-time, according to the Times.

Outgoing Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) ordered a review of mental health services at both the state and local level following the incident in November.

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