Monday, January 14, 2008

Treat severe mental illness like any other illness

ER doctor Greg Christiansen gave striking testimony on Friday at a Virginia House of Delegates subcommittee hearing focused on mental health. As we have previously highlighted on this blog, Virginia’s outdated treatment laws unnecessarily handcuff treatment providers – the question becomes not, “does this person need care?” but “is this person imminently dangerous, and will the local Community Service Board (CSB) agree with me?”

His testimony eloquently laments the sorry state of affairs that marks Virginia’s mental health system – "If you come in as a trauma patient, I have to treat you, if you come in as a psychiatric patient, I have to get permission."