Mental Health

Rockbridge Area Community Services

Rural mental health crisis intervention is getting a boost from a new regional Crisis Intervention Assessment Site in Lexington. 

Rockbridge Area Community Services has been training law enforcement officers to become members a Mental Health Crisis Intervention Team. Now, in cooperation with Carilion Stonewall Jackson Hospital, they have a Crisis Intervention Assessment Site. John Young is Executive Director of Rockbridge Area Community Services:  

AP Photo / Evan Vucci

Virginia spends only 52% of the national average on community-based mental health according to a national non-profit called Mental Health America, ranking the state 38th compared to others. The news comes as a group co-chaired by Senator Creigh Deeds meets in Richmond to review goals for the legislative session which begins in January.  

A line in this year’s Virginia state budget calls for the shuttering of two psychiatric hospitals in southwestern Virginia.  But some are calling for them to remain open at a time when recent events have spotlighted the urgent need for more mental health services, not fewer.

Governor Terry McAuliffe’s budget proposal would provide $1 million to cover the costs of shutting down two psychiatric hospitals in southern Virginia.  The plan raised an outcry at a time when it’s becoming clear that there’s already a lack of sufficient beds for people in psychological crises in the state.

Senator Deeds Files Suit Over Son's Death

Jan 5, 2016
Sixty Minutes

Virginia Senator Creigh Deeds is suing state and local mental health agencies over the death of his son, Gus.  The 24-year-old took his own life in 2013 after attacking the senator with a knife outside their Bath County home.  Deeds and his x-wife had begged the local mental health agency to hospitalize Gus, but a staffer claimed no hospital had room for him. Deeds is asking for $6 million, saying the state was negligent in failing to make recommended reforms that could have saved his son. 

Virginia Man Offers Free Hugs

Sep 22, 2015

From the streets of Ferguson, Missouri to the border towns of Western Europe, there’s been a lot of soul-searching this year – people wondering how humanity can move away from violence and hatred to a time of tolerance and peace.  One Virginia man is doing his part – standing, blind-folded, on a public street – offering to hug anyone who’s in need. 

Sixty-three-year-old David Reid began giving hugs on Charlottesville’s downtown mall  after seeing a photo following the Ferguson riots.