December 2, 2013
The tragedy that struck the Creigh Deeds family on November 19th is, in part, the result of failed Virginia policy toward mental health. Both sides of the aisle are to blame.
Following the Virginia Tech massacre, state officials promised more money and more emphasis on mental health. They kept their promise—for one year. Virginia now spends less on mental health than it did on April 16, 2007. Governor McDonnell’s policy of privatizing the state’s mental health care is an attack on the most vulnerable segment of society, the portion of the population least able to defend themselves—the mentally ill.
Privatization is not advocated in order to improve health care. It is pursued to curry favor with the far right wing of the political spectrum who want to minimize government no matter what the cost—in this case, a human life.
Young Austin Deeds was a victim of political machinations in Richmond. Politicians who have backed cuts in mental health treatment and the privatization of the state’s mental health care share part of the blame for the calamity that struck the Deeds family.