Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Virginia AG calls for better mental illness tx law

Virginia Attorney General Bob McDonnell explained to WDBJ 7 Roanoke that he will ask the Virginia legislature to pass Kendra’s Law when they return in January. As regular readers of this blog will remember, legislation to update Virginia’s outpatient commitment standard was passed over by the Virginia Courts of Justice committee in January.

Their reasoning? They wanted to wait for the Supreme Court Commission’s report, due in 2008 and since bumped to 2009.

Recent events at Virginia Tech may finally convince legislators that compelling treatment for a small number of the sickest people is not only humane, but cannot wait 2 more years – people across the state are suffering every day. Just because their stories don’t make international headlines doesn’t mean they aren’t horrible and worthy of attention. For instance, in the same week of the Virginia Tech shooting, a man in Roanoke was killed by police responding to a call that he was suicidal – he had bipolar disorder and was not taking medication.

TAC commends the attorney general for recognizing the many benefits that improved outpatient commitment standards can bring to the Virginia mental health system.

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