Last month, the disAbility Law Center (dLCV) issued a report on the condition of mental health services in Virginia. It is an eye-opening report: Broken Promises, the Failure of Mental Health Services in Virginia. (Broken Promises Report)
Its findings are direct: “Despite the promises of reform to the mental health service system in the last decade, Virginia’s mental health services system fails to serve many of those in need of its services.”
According to dLCV, there are more than 40,000 Virginians living with serious mental illness and thousands more with less serious emotional disorders that require treatment including an estimated 130,658 children between the ages of 9 and 18 who need treatment. The dLCV which advocates for all people with disabilities to be free from abuse, neglect, and discrimination considers the problem in part to be a misallocation of resources.
As its report points out, on any given month about 10 percent of residents of state hospitals continue to be hospitalized even though their treating professionals have found that they no longer need to be hospitalized. Thirty-one of the 133 individuals in such hospital placements in November, 2013, had been waiting for discharge for more than a year. The problem is that there are inadequate or nonexistent facilities or programs in the community to continue services to these persons. At the same time, there were an estimated 26,990 inmates confined in local and regional jails of whom nearly 25 percent were known or suspected to be mentally ill. More than 3,500 persons in jails were diagnosed with a serious mental illness.
The dLCV maintains that funding is misdirected towards unnecessary hospitalization when funding is needed desperately for community-based crisis response services and housing options for people with mental health needs. Their position is not without controversy. Others maintain that both more hospital spaces and more community-based facilities are needed.
The tragic event surrounding the family of Senator Creigh Deeds has brought the need to the public’s attention. Outgoing Governor Bob McDonnell has proposed a more than $50 million increase in the budget for mental health services and has established a commission to develop a plan for mental health services in the Commonwealth. There is bipartisan support to address the issue in terms of additional funding as well as to amend existing statutes to permit persons who are a danger to themselves and to others to be held for a longer period of time until appropriate treatment is available to them.
We are past the time when we should have met the promises for reform to persons with mental health problems and their families. The 2014 session of the General Assembly must respond. You can view my interview with Colleen Miller, Executive Director of disAbility Law Center of Virginia and another interview with George Braunstein, Director of the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board, both on the topic of mental health reform at Virginia Report.
Del. Ken Plum (D-36th) represents Reston in Virginia’s General Assembly. He can be reached at [email protected].
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The Ravel Dance Studio will re-open for fall classes 2020. The school will offer in person and virtual online instruction. With over 5000 sq. ft. to social distance the school has added air ionization filtration systems, ballet barres, acrylic dividers, hands free bathrooms, strict monitoring and more.
The Ravel Dance Studio will produce a Nutcracker Ballet Hollywood style video through the Reston Community CenterStage. REGISTRATION online begins August 17.
Chris Green is one of the DMV’s finest fitness instructors. A Lululemon and South Block ambassador, he is a coach and mentor to so many. He embodies grace, positivity and motivation in ways that no one else can. If we could all learn a thing or two from him, the world would be a much better place. He does so much for others, and does so with a smile on his face 99% of the time.
He recently ruptured his Achilles and has an incredibly long and tough journey ahead. As if COVID hadn’t impacted fitness professionals enough, throw this in the mix and it’s a double, even triple whammy. CG is no longer able to work and do what he loves for the time being because of this and we’d love your support.