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.

 
Top Stories
a

11-year-old airlifted after bike crashes into car in Waynesboro

The Waynesboro Police Department is investigating a motor vehicle crash involving an 11-year-old boy who was struck by a vehicle on North Delphine Avenue Tuesday evening.

Podcast: Chris Graham talks Nats, O's, UVA basketball

AFP editor Chris Graham talks about the first-place Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals, and throws in some UVA basketball, on today's sports podcast.

ACLU sides with McAuliffe in restoration of voting rights lawsuit

The ACLU has sided with Gov. Terry McAuliffe in a lawsuit to try to block the restoration of voting rights to 206,000 individuals convicted of a felony.

Supreme Court strikes down restrictive Texas abortion law

The U.S. Supreme Court has struck down a 2013 Texas law that had put rigid restrictions on abortion clinics.

One dead in DUI on Interstate 81 in Augusta County

Virginia State Police J.S. Martin is investigating a fatal two-vehicle crash in Augusta County. The crash occurred Sunday at 4:55 a.m., on Interstate 81 near the 215 mile marker.

Supreme Court overturns Bob McDonnell corruption convictions

The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously overturned the convictions of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell on corruption charges, ruling that prosecutors had too broadly defined the scope of the case.

Gas prices leveling off in Virginia, Mid-Atlantic

Across the Mid-Atlantic region, gas prices have leveled off and many areas are seeing prices up to four cents less than this same date last week.

Lessons from the Brexit: Hillary, pay attention

Hillary Clinton and her team might want to pay heed to the fallout from the historic Brexit vote in the UK, at their own peril if they don’t.

You Don’t Stand Alone: Video series highlights substance abuse prevention message

Greater Augusta Prevention Partners has a message to those dealing with substance abuse problems: you don’t stand alone.

KISS to honor hometown military heroes during tour stop in Richmond

KISS will salute members of the National Guard and Reserve forces in over 30 U.S. cities during their 2016 ‘KISS: Freedom to Rock’ tour.

 
Discussion
 
Recent News

AFP Business

AFP: The Magazine

In 2015, Augusta Free Press brought back our print magazine under a new name, Augusta Free Press: The Magazine.
.
 

Advertise on AFP

Get information on AFP readership and advertising online with us.
.
 

AFP Classes

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

AFP Web Design

Get your business online for as little as $1,299. We take care of all facets of web design – visual design, layout design and content development.
.
 

AFP 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.
.

AFP 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.
.
 

AFP 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.

 

AFP Video/Audio

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

AFP Book Publishing

Augusta Free Press Publishing has produced books in-house and assisted more than 17 authors with book publishing and production services since 2003. Whether you need a cover, layout, or need help from start to finish, we are here to help!
.