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Proposed Mental Health Law Changes in Virginia

There have been interesting new potential developments in Virginia's mental health laws in the wake of the Senator Creigh Deeds' tragedy, outlined briefly in this AP story. Since the tragedy at Virginia Tech in 2007, Virginia has placed more emphasis on improving its mental health system with varying degrees of success.

Virginia Mental Health Laws

One of the most difficult challenges the mental health system faces is attempting to balance individual civil liberties with the safety of the public. On the one hand, the General Assembly wants to protect the public from potential dangers and on the other wants to protect citizens' right to make choices about their own mental health care. The new proposed bills being introduced include extending the time people can be detained in the mental health context and the ability of a magistrate to issue a temporary detention order without first securing a bed in a psychiatric facility.