Mental Health

The HOW of Happiness

Oct 23, 2014

What does it take to be happy in life? A book on the subject is catching on, on campus.  A project that began as a women’s book group has morphed into a discussion series on a single book.  It’s called, “The How of Happiness.”     

Services for children and youth with autism spectrum disorder have improved over the last five years…but the system that provides the services is complex and not uniformly accessible statewide.

That’s one of the findings this week of the Autism Advisory Council-the panel of lawmakers who will identify problems and make recommendations to the General Assembly about how to make the state programs more effective. The demand for long-term services has continued to grow. 

The legislative panel formed to examine and help improve Virginia’s mental health system spent hours learning foundational facts about mental illnesses, treatments, how the state’s system of care works, and how it is funded. 

One consensus that seems to be emerging among the joint subcommittee’s members is that there’s a disparity in services across the Commonwealth. While the multi-year study continues, panel members hope to endorse some recommendations for the next General Assembly session.  


A new General Assembly panel is vowing to conduct a thorough review of Virginia’s mental health system, while not shielding any “sacred cows” in the process.  The Joint Subcommittee to Study Mental Health Services in the 21st Century held its inaugural meeting… and began by examining how the Commonwealth’s system is faring—then comparing it to other states. Members already seem determined to make reforms.  

A broad bipartisan and bicameral consensus at the General Assembly may not create sensational headlines—but such agreements do occur.  In Part One of our series on new state laws that take effect this week.

Lawmakers in both parties and Governor McAuliffe made it a priority to cut the number of SOL tests and revise their focus. Early grades will now focus more on reading and math tests. Delegate Tag Greason sponsored a law to limit assessments in third through eighth grades.