Va. Looks into Treatment of State Senator’s Son

MILLBORO (WRIC) – Officials have opened an investigation into why Sen. Creigh Deeds' son was reportedly released from emergency custody.

The emergency order for Gus Deeds was issued on Monday – the day before he stabbed his father and killed himself with a rifle at the family's farm in Bath County.

Initially it was reported that there were no psychiatric beds available which is why Gus Deeds was released, but three hospitals have since come out saying they did have beds available but no one called. Now, the state is investigating.

Delegate Jennifer McClellan is on the state's mental health committee. She says it's tough to say whether those undergoing mental health evaluations should be detained for more than four to six hours.

“Most of us at some point in our lives will be touched by mental health problems whether we want to talk about them or not,” she says. “It's kind of a delicate balance between civil liberties not to be held because they're not criminals and yet we're also trying to make sure they don't hurt themselves or others.

Under emergency custody orders someone can be held for four hours with a possible two hour extension. During that time, private hospitals are first contacted to see if psychiatric beds are available for care. Now some are wondering if that is enough time to get someone help and whether it should be extended.

McClellan admits that funding for mental health has gone down but she says it's up to people in the state to demand more funding.

“Resources is an issue and I think that we as a society need to decide what our priorities are.”


Copyright 2013 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond

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