Everyone agrees that better and more mental health care is part of the answer to stemming the tide of school shootings. Yet, in the nearly sixteen years since the shooting at the Appalachian School of Law, the quality of mental health care in Virginia has declined; thanks in a large part to the privatization of mental health care facilities.
What better example does anyone need than the sloppy and unprofessional care given Seung Hui Cho in the years and months before he went on his rampage at Virginia Tech?
And if the Virginia Tech massacre is not evidence enough of the Virginia’s substandard mental health care, then look at the tragedy that struck the Creigh Deeds family on November 19,, 2014
According to press reports, Austin “Gus” Deeds had a mental-health evaluation on Monday November 18, 2013 and an Emergency Custody Order, ECO, had been placed on Gus Deeds to see if he should be placed in custody for a longer period. Mental health officials said they could not find a bed to hold young Deeds for further evaluation and treatment. That was not true. Subsequently, it was found out that beds were available. The next morning young Deeds apparently had a psychotic episode and stabbed his father multiple times in the face and upper torso before killing himself.
Austin “Gus” Deeds died, in part, because of the poorly run private mental care system in Virginia; a system that cannot even keep track of vacant beds. 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. (To be continued)