After Chesapeake, UVA shootings, Youngkin will propose mental health agenda

After the second mass shooting in Virginia in as many weeks left 7 people dead as of Wednesday afternoon, Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin said his administration plans to propose legislation to the General Assembly this winter to increase mental health resources.

Giving few details to reporters after an annual thanksgiving ceremony, Youngkin said his agenda would provide more resources, address staffing challenges and acknowledge that people experiencing mental health crises need “daytime” treatment. Is.

“This is extremely important,” Youngkin said. “We know we are in a mental health crisis and there are some very urgent actions we need to take.”

Lieutenant Governor Winsom Earle-Sears said in a statement on Wednesday: “I am committed to making mental health issues a priority for my office and will work with the governor, attorney general, General Assembly and local leaders to address this crisis.

Asked if he was open to legislation restricting access to guns, Youngkin said “today is not the time” to talk about such issues.

“I fundamentally believe that there will be a moment to talk about these things. I believe that the people who are trying to raise them are trying to talk about things that have There really is time,” Youngkin said. “Today is not the time. Today is the time to support families and bring people together. There will be a moment to talk about these things.

The comments come after the mass shooting at a Walmart in Chesapeake on Tuesday night. Seven people, including the shooter, died in the shooting. Four people hospitalized reported wavy 10 Wednesday morning.

On November 13, a University of Virginia student shot and killed three former football teammates and wounded two on a bus returning from a school field trip to Washington, DC. The alleged shooter, Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., remains in custody, and Meares’ office is conducting an outside investigation into the shooting at the request of Attorney General Jason University.

And earlier this year, two police officers at Bridgewater College were killed in a campus shooting. The suspected shooter is facing charges in Rockingham County.

mental health system stress

Virginia’s mental health system has been been under stress for many yearsThe problems peaked this July when staffing shortages forced the state temporarily close five of its mental hospitals to new admissions out of security concerns.

Staff shortages are taking a toll on Virginia’s psychiatric hospitals

The demand on state hospitals has also increased. Since Virginia’s “bed of last resort” law, which requires state psychiatric facilities to admit patients after an eight-hour period if a bed cannot be found at other facilities, went into effect in 2014, the temporary The number of patients admitted through detention has increased by almost 400% in the order.

The biennial budget passed by the General Assembly this June includes pay raise 37% on average for direct care workers in state mental health facilities in an effort to reduce deficits. No increase was included for staff on community service boards, local bodies that serve people with behavioral health problems in the community.

Mental health problems among students were also one of the primary issues highlighted by the state’s Joint Legislative and Audit Review Commission recent study The impact of COVID-19 on Virginia schools. JLARC found such issues to be “worryingly prevalent” among students. At the same time, Some districts are losing mental health providers Those providers have a say in how the state handles its provision of such services.

violence reduction efforts

Virginia Passed major gun control reform In 2020 while the state was controlled by Democrats, The law instituted universal background checks on gun sales, established red flag orders, required gun owners to report lost or stolen firearms, increased certain gun-related penalties, and replaced the state’s earlier one-handcuff-one. Restored the law of the month. Proposal to completely ban assault weapons failed in the senate,

During the last session, with the power split between Democrats and Republicans, the parties agreed to include in the state budget $13 million aimed at reducing shootings Through a fund that can issue grants to local governments, community groups and hospitals for gun violence reduction efforts and another fund that focuses on anti-crime strategies.

The figure was far less than the $27 million proposed by outgoing Governor Ralph Northam and put forth by Senate Democrats during the previous session. A statewide center for firearm violence intervention and prevention Within the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services.

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