Work in Progress
Edwards, Douglas J., Behavioral Healthcare
Late last year, I began to pay particular attention to efforts in Virginia to reform its mental healthcare system and laws/policies related to people with mental illness. In October 2006, the state Supreme Court organized the Commission on Mental Health Law Reform to study mental health laws in Virginia and make recommendations to the General Assembly. It's a fascinating multidisciplinary effort (not appreciated by some legislators, by the way), and I commented on it in my December editorial.
To gain more perspective on the state's progress with mental health system transformation, I asked Mary Ann Bergeron, executive director of the Virginia Association of Community Services Boards, to contribute to this past April's issue. That same month, Virginia Tech was the scene of the deadliest shooting spree in American history, and the state and local mental health systems have been scrutinized in the ensuing investigations.
So in this issue of Behavioral Healthcare, we again look at mental healthcare in Old Dominion. This month's contributors focus especially on outpatient commitment, which has received much attention following the Virginia Tech shootings. With the Commission's work already underway when the Virginia Tech tragedy occurred, perhaps the state can make some real progress on reforming its laws and policies related to people with mental illness. …