jump to example.com
newsletter linked in

Ken Plum: Broken promises on mental health reform

Last month the disAbility Law Center (dLCV) issued a report on the condition of mental health services in Virginia. It is an eye-opening report: Broken Promises, the Failure of Mental Health Services in Virginia (Broken Promises report). Its findings are direct: “Despite the promises of reform to the mental health service system in the last decade, Virginia’s mental health services system fails to serve many of those in need of its services.”

kenplum2According to dLCV, there are more than 40,000 Virginians living with serious mental illness and thousands more with less serious emotional disorders that require treatment including an estimated 130,658 children between the ages of nine and eighteen who need treatment. The dLCV which advocates for all people with disabilities to be free from abuse, neglect, and discrimination considers the problem in part to be a misallocation of resources. As its report points out, on any given month about ten percent of residents of state hospitals continue to be hospitalized even though their treating professionals have found that they no longer need to be hospitalized. Thirty-one of the 133 individuals in such hospital placements in November, 2013, had been waiting for discharge for more than a year. The problem is that there are inadequate or nonexistent facilities or programs in the community to continue services to these persons. At the same time, there were an estimated 26,990 inmates confined in local and regional jails of whom nearly 25 percent were known or suspected to be mentally ill. More than 3,500 persons in jails were diagnosed with a serious mental illness.

The dLCV maintains that funding is misdirected towards unnecessary hospitalization when funding is needed desperately for community-based crisis response services and housing options for people with mental health needs. Their position is not without controversy. Others maintain that both more hospital spaces and more community-based facilities are needed.

The tragic event surrounding the family of senator creigh deeds has brought the need to the public’s attention. Outgoing Governor Bob McDonnell has proposed a more than $50 million increase in the budget for mental health services and has established a commission to develop a plan for mental health services in the Commonwealth. There is bipartisan support to address the issue in terms of additional funding as well as to amend existing statutes to permit persons who are a danger to themselves and to others to be held for a longer period of time until appropriate treatment is available to them.

We are past the time when we should have met the promises for reform to persons with mental health problems and their families. The 2014 session of the General Assembly must respond. You can view my interview with Colleen Miller, Executive Director of disAbility Law Center of Virginia and another interview with George Braunstein, Director of the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board, both on the topic of mental health reform at Virginia Report.

Ken Plum is a member of the Virginia House of Delegates.

Discussion
 
Top Stories
a

Podcast: UVA, VMI football previews, president stuff

AFP editor Chris Graham previews this weekend's football games with VMI and UVA, and talks presidential race politics.

Winter weather forecast: Frequent snow in Northeast, crop-damaging freeze in South

AccuWeather reports it will feel like an extended winter for those living from the northern Plains to the eastern U.S.

Podcast: How will the debate impact the polls?

AFP editor Chris Graham wraps the first 2016 presidential debate, offers thoughts on how the polls will register post-debate, how Donald Trump may respond to his poor performance, and the switches gears and talks UVA and VMI football.

Waynesboro Public Schools to celebrate Walk to School Week Oct. 3-7

Waynesboro Public Schools will be celebrating Walk to School Week to emphasize the importance of creating safe routes to school.

AAA: Gas prices starting to stabilize

Gas price hikes have slowed to a halt after rising a total of 13 cents per gallon on average since Sept. 16 due to disruptions on the Colonial Pipeline.

Report: Augusta County Courthouse requirements overstated

Population projections used to estimate the amount of courthouse space Augusta County will need are outdated, according to a UVA analyst.

Clown sighting nonsense finds its way to Augusta County

The Augusta County Sheriff's Office received a report of a clown sighting, meaning, yes, the nonsense has come our way.

#WhyIWalk: Cheyenne

I walk because on March 19, 2013 my sister that was only 13 months older than me died by suicide.

Special: Four months of advertising on Augusta Free Press for $500

Our readership continues to grow on AugustaFreePress.com, and we want your business to feel that love.

 
Recent News

Viewpoints
 
Hosts Chris Graham and Crystal Graham of Augusta Free Press highlight local news and newsmakers with an emphasis on the Shenandoah Valley on Viewpoints on WVPT.

Join the conversation on WVPT's Facebook page.

Chris Graham is the editor of Augusta Free Press, ESPN3 baseball broadcaster and the author of five books. Crystal Graham is the award-winning former host of WVPT’s Virginia Tonight.

Show airs Wednesday nights at 7:30 p.m.

Want to see what's coming up on Viewpoints? Click here.

Missed a show? Watch OnDemand and on our YouTube channel.

Past shows are also available via the PBS app wherever it is available (iOS, Xbox, Roku, Android, etc). Videos will be found more easily if you localize the app and select WVPT as your local PBS station.

AFP Business

Your One-Stop Media Shop

Augusta Free Press LLC provides clients in the Shenandoah Valley and Central Virginia and beyond with marketing and PR solutions including web design, magazine/brochure, TV/radio, social media and overall marketing campaign design and implementation.
 

Advertise

Get information on readership and advertising online with us.


AFP Classes

Augusta Free Press offers a series of hour-long classes on website design, marketing strategy, social media, event planning and more.


Web Design

You want a new website, but don’t have the first clue as to how to build one. That’s our job. Get your business online for as little as $1,299.


Graphic Design

Whether you need a fresh business card design, rack card, ad, flyer or full magazine design, we can help with all your graphic-design needs.


Marketing/PR

Augusta Free Press manages advertising campaigns for small- and medium-sized businesses across Virginia. You don’t need to hire a full-time marketing coordinator. Bring the experience of the Augusta Free Press team to work for you – for a fraction of the cost.


Search Engine Optimization

The prettiest website in the world is like a tree falling in the forest with no one there to hear it. If your website hasn’t been search engine optimized, no one is going to see it or hear it – and it’s not going to work for you.


Video/Audio

Web videos, TV and radio commercials, DVDs – Augusta Free Press LLC has you covered when it comes to video and audio production.