Editorial: A good deed
Posted on Dec 11, 2013 - 01:13 PM Printer Friendly View
After the very public tragedy that overwhelmed his family last month, Virginia Senator Creigh Deeds of Bath County could be excused if he decided to withdraw from public life and tend to the emotional scars of which he said, so truly, “some wounds won’t heal.”
However, this senator has vowed to follow the course laid down for public figures: to improve the institutions of our government that may not be working very well. In this case, after his son had emergency treatment for some mental health issues, he was discharged to his family because, it was explained, no bed could be found for psychiatric care. The next day, the son stabbed his father, then killed himself. The Deeds family was let down and irreparably damaged by the system.
Creigh Deeds has run for statewide office twice, without success, but that exposure has made his name familiar and given him a broader platform than his Senate district upon which to advocate for improvements to our state’s mental health care system. Some changes were made after the 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech; but obviously shortfalls remain.
Budget cuts, it is said, have fallen heavily upon mental health services leaving vulnerable individuals at risk of neglect or worse. Gov. McDonnell this week proposed significant increases in funding for mentally health services. Will this proposal hold up through budget deliberations?
If through his terrible personal tragedy Senator Deeds can bring about some improvement for the care of the mentally ill, some way that emergency commitments can be available uniformly, then he will have done a great service for all Virginians.