NBC12 VIEWPOINT: Mental Health Reform Takes Center Stage

By: Kym Grinnage email

Finally, mental health reform is coming to the state of Virginia, and hopefully it will be accelerated across the country. With the assistance of Senator Creigh Deeds looking on the Senate Education and Health Committee advanced Senate Bill 260, which will extend the time limit on emergency custody orders, establish a registry of acute psychiatric beds in public and private hospitals and also assign state hospitals to serve as facilities of the last resort to ensure that a bed is available.

This is by no means a done deal, but the bill now goes to the Senate Finance Committee, the full Senate and then the House of Delegates.

Many times it takes a personal, high profile tragedy to initiate legislation that should have been passed years ago.

Mental illness is the disease that is all around us, but it is also the disease that most people do not want to talk about or be associated with. I applaud Senator Deeds for stepping up, but there is still much work to be done after the legislation is passed.

As citizens, we have to ensure that those we know and love seek help when help is needed and we also must use the power of our voice and emails to keep our legislators accountable. Whether it's depression, bi-polar disorder, ADD or Schizophrenia, when mental illness affects one of us, it affects all of us.

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