Gov. McDonnell launches investigation into mental health policies

Posted at 6:57 PM, Nov 21, 2013
and last updated 2013-11-22 00:40:53-05

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) -- Gov. Bob McDonnell has instructed his secretary of health and human resources to conduct a full internal review of the events leading up to Tuesday's incident involving State Senator Creigh Deeds and his son Gus.

In an interview with the Washington Post Thursday, McDonnell also hinted at potential changes to his final budget which he will unveil in a view weeks.

“If there are budget needs in this upcoming budget, I can address those. I’ve still got two more weeks before I’ve got to submit the budget, and if there are glaring problems, I can address those,” McDonnell said in the interview.

McDonnell's remarks come as the state inspector general also announced an investigation.

All of this comes as information surrounding the state of mental health policy and funding is under increased scrutiny in the Commonwealth.

According to the Treatment Advocacy Center in 2005 there were 1659 psychiatric beds in Virginia. By 2010, those beds were reduced to 1407.

That represents about 17 beds per 100,000 Virginians or about 37 percent of the recommended amount of beds the TAC advocates for.

"Folks have said for years that the mental health system is not where it needs to be," Virginia's National Alliance on Mental Illness Executive Director Mira Signer said.

Signer said a review by NAMI indicated that between fiscal years 2009 and 2012, mental health funding had been reduced by $37 million --virtually wiping out the $42 million added to the state's budget for mental health following the Virginia Tech shooting.

"From fiscal year 2009 to fiscal year 2012, we saw about $37 million disappear from the mental health budget," Signer said.