New Va. mental health panel has first meeting

ALAN SUDERMAN
Associated Press

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia lawmakers are promising a top-to-bottom review of the state’s mental health system with the goal of making it a model for the rest of the country.

A new mental health reform panel met for the first time Monday in Richmond.

The panel elected state Sen. Creigh Deeds, D-Bath County, as its chairman. Deeds has made improving the state’s mental health system his top priority following his mentally ill son’s suicide last year. Gus Deeds stabbed his father then killed himself hours after he was released from emergency custody because mental health officials could not find an available psychiatric bed in the time allotted by law.

Sen. Deeds said Monday the panel has a broad mandate to recommend and help implement improvements to the state’s mental health system.

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