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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 10, 2013
Governor’s Office

Governor McDonnell to Propose New Mental Health Funding
and Issues Executive Order 68
– Targeted Funding of More Than $38 Million to Improve Mental Health Crises Response and Build Critical Services to Help Prevent Crises from Developing –

Executive Order 68 Establishes the Task Force on Improving Mental Health Services and Crisis Response

 

RICHMOND –Governor Bob McDonnell announced budget proposals today to expand crisis response and crisis prevention services for Virginia's behavioral health system. The governor's proposals would infuse $38.3 million over the biennium into critical mental health and substance-use disorder programs. Separately, funding for the DOJ mental health and training center settlement and DMAS resources, a total of $95.8 million, will be provided during the next biennium. Governor McDonnell also announced through Executive Order 68 the convening of a Task Force on Improving Mental Health Services and Crisis Response. The Task Force calls for leaders in the mental health field, law enforcement communities, the judicial system and private hospitals along with individuals receiving mental health services and their families to seek and recommend solutions that will improve Virginia's mental health crisis services and help prevent crises from developing.


Speaking about the proposals, Governor McDonnell said, "Over the years, including the events of April 16, 2007, Virginians have experienced tremendous heartache as a result of mental health tragedies. These experiences serve to underline the need to ensure that all individuals and families experiencing mental health crises have access to the needed services without delay. Working together with the General Assembly we have made progress, but there is much more to do. It has become clear that Virginia's mental health system can sometimes be difficult to navigate for families seeking assistance, or even for workers inside the system. While there are quality services in place to address most types of mental health needs, we must increase the capacity and availability of those services in all Virginia communities so that every person in crisis is able to receive much-needed help. Simultaneously, we must look for ways to expand the availability of ongoing treatment and support services that will prevent mental health crises. This significant and strategic investment of funds and Executive Order 68 are substantial steps forward to making critical mental health improvements. I'm pleased to report that Governor-elect Terry McAuliffe is fully supportive of these changes and investments, and will continue the Executive Order Task Force during his term."

 

The governor and the General Assembly have been working during strained economic times to make targeted and impactful investments to improve critical mental health services across Virginia. Expanded programs include funding for child psychiatry and children's crisis response services, crisis intervention team (CIT) programs, crisis stabilization services and discharge assistance programs. In addition, funds were added to restore and stabilize state hospital bed capacity at Northern Virginia Mental Health Institute and Southwestern Virginia Mental Health Institute. Finally, as part of the Governor's School and Campus Safety Task Force, expansions were made to mental health first aid programs, secure assessment centers and suicide prevention efforts.

 

The Governor's budget provides the following funding for mental health efforts:

Mental Health Crisis Response Improvements

Behavioral Health Treatment and Support Services

The Task Force's responsibilities shall include the following:

The Task Force shall be co-chaired by the Secretary of Health and Human Resources and the Secretary of Public Safety. Membership shall include the following individuals or representatives: