Governor Terry McAulliffe has signed legislation promising significant mental health reforms. A ceremony Monday afternoon in Charlottesville also included Bath County Senator Creigh Deeds, whose personal experience with family tragedy spurred lawmakers to act.
Deeds returned to the General Assembly in January to push for reforms in Virginia's mental health system, just weeks after his son Gus stabbed him, and then took his own life.
Monday, Deeds joined McAuliffe at the University of Virginia Health System, where the Governor signed the legislation.
"Senator Deeds and I are in agreement this is an important first step," McAuliffe said as Deeds shook his head in agreement, "but let us be crystal clear we have a long, long way to go."
Senator Deeds and his daughter Rebecca watched as the Governor signed the measure into law, and later he told WDBJ7 the work will continue.
"I expect over the next four years, with the work of the Governor's task force and the work of our study commission," Deeds said in a brief interview, "we're going to remake the system of mental health here in Virginia. We're going to remake the public system. We're going to make it more responsive. We're going to make it more efficient."
Other lawmakers, including Rockbridge Delegate Ben Cline said they believe more needs to be done.
"There were problems. There were mistakes," Cline told WDBJ7, "and people have not been held accountable in the Rockbridge area CSB (community service board). We need to make sure that that happens, for our community, for our area to move forward past this tragedy."