Va. to introduce new mental health protocols
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia mental health officials say they are introducing changes in January to ensure that hospital beds will be available for people who pose a danger to themselves or others.
The promised protocols follow the Nov. 19 death of a Virginia state senator's son who had been released from emergency custody less than one day earlier.
Austin "Gus" Deeds attacked his father, Sen. Creigh Deeds, and then killed himself.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services announced the upcoming changes in a report issued late Thursday.
It said the new policy will specify "clear and specific expectations for contacting private hospitals." It will also clearly spell out when an emergency mental health worker can contact a state mental hospital to find a bed.
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