Mental Health Legislation Moves Forward

Jan 16, 2014

At least one of the mental health bills sponsored by State Senator Creigh Deeds is moving forward to the next stage without any opposition.

After being released from emergency custody after psychiatric beds were not found, Deeds’ son stabbed him and subsequently killed himself.

A committee voted unanimously to send Deeds’ bill to the full Senate. His measure addresses the topic of emergency custody orders, which are granted when a person is deemed to be a danger to himself or others. The bill directs the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services to review the qualifications and training requirements for the health personnel who decide whether to grant or deny emergency custody orders.
 The bill directs the Department to recommend changes. Deeds is also sponsoring legislation to extend the period that a person can be held under an emergency custody order to 24 hours. A third bill establishes a real-time registry that lists the availability of beds at psychiatric facilities statewide.