Va. mom speaks out about shortfalls in mental health services

WASHINGTON – An Alexandria mom whose 11-year-old daughter suffers from bipolar disorder is speaking out about shortages in mental health services in the wake of the stabbing of a state senator and his son’s suicide.

“Sometimes it’s the luck of the draw, you sort of hope that as you’re heading over to the hospital with your child that there’s going to be a bed at that particular hospital,” Christy Gallagher tells WTOP.

Gallagher says it would be most helpful to families struggling with mental illness to have stronger community services including home-based care and more crisis stabilization services.

She’s also concerned that when her daughter reaches the age of 14, Virginia law requires families to ask a magistrate for an emergency order when the child needs to be hospitalized.

Sen. Creigh Deeds and his son’s suicide have cast a spotlight on services for the mentally ill in Virginia.

Gallagher wrote about her concerns and her experiences with her daughter in an op-ed piece for the Washington Post.

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