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Governor Warner Announces Record Investment In Mental Health System

~ Initiative builds on efforts to boost community-based & institutional care ~

RICHMOND – Governor Mark R. Warner on Tuesday, December 6th, announced proposals that will take the next significant steps to help Virginians seeking treatment in the Commonwealth’s mental health and mental retardation care system. The initiative begins long overdue improvements to the state’s system of residential treatment, and continues investing in the Commonwealth’s network of community-based mental health services.

“The time is right for this reinvestment in our behavioral health system because the state is financially healthy, and the needs at our facilities and in our community-based system are well-known,” Governor Warner said at a Richmond news conference attended by a bipartisan group of General Assembly members who have demonstrated leadership on mental health issues.

“Let me offer this assurance to advocates and family members: we believe everyone who needs a bed in a state facility will have one, but whenever possible, we will serve people in the community as our first option,” Governor Warner said.

“These ongoing efforts to improve mental health services have helped us demonstrate that when services are available in the community, the demand for facility care goes down,” said Dr. James Reinhard, Commissioner, Virginia Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation, and Substance Abuse Services. “Working with Governor Warner and the state legislature, we also have demonstrated that building community services is not only the right thing to do, it also allows us to use our resources more efficiently.”

At Tuesday’s announcement, the Governor  also expressed appreciation for General Assembly support for previous administration initiatives designed to improve mental health and mental retardation treatment and services:

Additional details of the mental health initiative will be announced in conjunction with the December 16, 2005, introduction of Governor Warner’s budget proposal.

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