Creigh Deeds introduces mental health legislation
January 7th, 2014
11:22 AM ET
11 months ago

Creigh Deeds introduces mental health legislation

Updated 6:17 p.m. ET, 1/7/2014

Washington (CNN) - Roughly two months after Virginia state Sen. Creigh Deeds was stabbed multiple times by his son, the Democratic lawmaker is introducing new legislation that targets mental health services in the commonwealth.

His agenda for the 2014 session includes proposals that would create a psychiatric bed registry and expand the time limit for emergency custody orders.

Less than 24 hours before the stabbing in November, Deeds' son, who went by "Gus," had undergone an evaluation by mental health professionals while he was under an emergency custody order.

Officials reportedly had to release Gus, 24, because no psychiatric bed was available at a local hospital and an individual could only be held under emergency custody for up to six hours.

The next morning, Gus stabbed his father in the chest and head during a fight. He then turned a gun on himself and died. The incident captured national headlines.

Deeds, who's returning to Richmond for the first day of the session Wednesday, told the Roanoke Times on Monday that his son had a history of mental illness and was twice committed for psychiatric treatment in 2011.

One of Deeds' new bills proposes to amend current law to expand the length of time a person can be held under emergency custody order to 24 hours, from a maximum of six hours.

Who is Creigh Deeds?

The state senator is also the chief patron of legislation that would establish a psychiatric bed registry to provide real-time information on the availability of beds in multiple facilities.

While the local hospital turned Gus away due to a lack of beds, three hospitals in the area told CNN in November that they had beds available and no one called them. All three are within an hour or two of the Deeds family home in Millboro, about 150 miles west of Richmond.

Mental health gains prominence in gun debate

Another bill put forward by Deeds would direct the commonwealth's Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services to review its training and oversight standards for officials who perform evaluations of patients under emergency custody.

Deeds is also calling for new joint subcommittee that would study of the delivery of mental health services.

'My son is mentally ill'

Not long after the November incident, Deeds vowed to pursue a mental health agenda, telling a local newspaper that he would focus on the state's services so that "other families don't have to go through what we are living."

"I think there may be a bigger problem here. I am alive for a reason, and I will work for change. I owe that to my precious son," Deeds told The Recorder, a newspaper based in Monterey, Virginia.

Virginia governor announces millions for mental health

Also on Deeds' agenda is a bill that would make it a felony for an individual to sell or transfer a firearm to a person who's legally not allowed to own a gun.

His office said the proposal is unrelated to the incident involving his son. Deeds has proposed gun measures in the past; last year he introduced a similar bill that in addition called for background checks on all firearm purchases.


Filed under: Creigh Deeds • Mental Health • Virginia
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Malory Archer

    Mental illness doesn't discriminate based on race, religion, gender, income or any other factor, and that America lacks treatment space is wrong.

    January 7, 2014 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  2. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Like Rep. Giffords & Deeds, you never know the seriousness of an issue until it personally happens to you. When these tragedies begin to happen to people in elected office or their family members, then maybe that's when anything will get done.

    January 7, 2014 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  3. anonymous

    I'll bet the ACLU has something to say about this.

    January 7, 2014 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  4. Malory Archer

    anonymous

    I'll bet the ACLU has something to say about this.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Yeah, except it wasn't the ACLU that dreamed up the mental health patients bill of rights which has led us to the lack of facilities issues we're facing today. That's totally on the 40th president of the United States. Ironically, it nearly cost him his life.

    January 7, 2014 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  5. awful but true

    Democrats have been too afraid to target one of their largest constituencies, the mentally ill. It is nice to see them finally doing the right thing.

    January 7, 2014 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  6. Malory Archer

    awful but true

    Democrats have been too afraid to target one of their largest constituencies, the mentally ill. It is nice to see them finally doing the right thing.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Project much?

    January 7, 2014 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  7. Malory Archer

    awful but true

    Democrats have been too afraid to target one of their largest constituencies, the mentally ill. It is nice to see them finally doing the right thing.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Mental illness is not a joke and joking about it only makes you look small and pathetic.

    January 7, 2014 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  8. Donna

    Malory Archer
    anonymous
    I'll bet the ACLU has something to say about this.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Yeah, except it wasn't the ACLU that dreamed up the mental health patients bill of rights which has led us to the lack of facilities issues we're facing today. That's totally on the 40th president of the United States. Ironically, it nearly cost him his life.
    -–

    And contrary to your lies, it wasn't Reagan either. Democrats controlled the Congress and passed the laws in the early 80's.

    Why do you lefties have to lie about everything? Can't you EVER accept responsibility for your actions and failures?

    January 7, 2014 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  9. awful but true

    Malory Archer
    awful but true
    Democrats have been too afraid to target one of their largest constituencies, the mentally ill. It is nice to see them finally doing the right thing.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Mental illness is not a joke and joking about it only makes you look small and pathetic.
    -–

    Who is joking? Mental illness and liberalism share a very major, key trait. A complete lack of touch with reality. It is well documented.

    January 7, 2014 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  10. Malory Archer

    awful but true

    Malory Archer
    awful but true
    Democrats have been too afraid to target one of their largest constituencies, the mentally ill. It is nice to see them finally doing the right thing.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Mental illness is not a joke and joking about it only makes you look small and pathetic.
    -–

    Who is joking? Mental illness and liberalism share a very major, key trait. A complete lack of touch with reality. It is well documented.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Instead of sepwing fact-free venom, howsabout you provide some DOCUMENTED PROOF to your ridiculous claims?

    January 7, 2014 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    Bless his heart! This has to be very painful, but he needs to do it. I hope Virginia works with him to
    accomplish this, so that maybe other States would do the same.

    January 7, 2014 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  12. jinx9to88

    Not gonna work, GOP will want some offsets.

    January 7, 2014 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  13. just me

    Awful without a clue, you are one classy dude. Your momma must be so proud.

    January 7, 2014 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  14. O'drama ya Mama

    Donna

    Malory Archer
    anonymous
    I'll bet the ACLU has something to say about this.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Yeah, except it wasn't the ACLU that dreamed up the mental health patients bill of rights which has led us to the lack of facilities issues we're facing today. That's totally on the 40th president of the United States. Ironically, it nearly cost him his life.
    -–

    And contrary to your lies, it wasn't Reagan either. Democrats controlled the Congress and passed the laws in the early 80's.

    Why do you lefties have to lie about everything? Can't you EVER accept responsibility for your actions and failures?
    January 7, 2014 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
    _________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Come on Donna, use the same standards on Reagan that you would Obama. He was the boss, his signature can pass or veto legislation. The fact that he signed the bill means he agreed with it.

    January 7, 2014 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  15. Dan

    The US, we, continue to do too little for mental illness. Privacy, treatment, and public concern demand reconciliation. It will require national; not state laws. If I travel to Virginia, why should I be less safe from someone than in Minnesota? The states have proven their incompetences. Sorry you lost your child..

    January 7, 2014 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  16. Malory Archer

    Hey Donna, here's some more truth for you to choke on. According to miwatch.org:

    Within a month of taking reagan office, the Office of Management Budget announced it would curtail the budget of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), phase out training of clinicians, interrupt research, and eliminate services. Cutbacks to staff followed; chaos ensued. Experienced people left, others remained in government service but were forced into menial jobs. Trained professionals were reassigned to labs to dissect dead rats; science writers were reassigned to typing pools. The Mental Health Systems Act would be disappear. Instead, the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (1982) would merge money for mental health programs into block grants, and with fewer dollars going to the states. They had the discretion to use them however they saw fit, often to perpetuate programs already deemed problematic. The pretense for all this was the president's concept of a "new federalism."

    Countless other mental health organizations have said the same thing. If I'm lying, howsabout YOU provide some CREDIBLE PROOF of that? A quick search of the internets will prove you – as usual – WRONG!

    January 7, 2014 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  17. The Real Tom Paine

    -awful but true

    Malory Archer
    awful but true
    Democrats have been too afraid to target one of their largest constituencies, the mentally ill. It is nice to see them finally doing the right thing.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Mental illness is not a joke and joking about it only makes you look small and pathetic.
    -–

    Who is joking? Mental illness and liberalism share a very major, key trait. A complete lack of touch with reality. It is well documented.
    ***************
    I would refer you to Karl Rove, and his performance on Election Night 2012, as examples of ideologically-driven delusions. Exhibit B would be Dick Morris. Exhibit C is yourself, and your insistence that a differing opinion is an indication of mental illness. Its sad that you are so intolerant of others that you use a man who is the victim twice over from mental illness as the stage for a sick joke.

    January 7, 2014 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |