Governor Timothy Kaine signed omnibus mental health bills in a special ceremony Wednesday, representing a renewed focus on – and significant investments in – the mental health system in the Commonwealth after last year’s tragedy at Virginia Tech.
“Working with members of the General Assembly, we will make significant investments in our mental health system and the bills before me today will establish standards for the system and increase accountability,” the Governor said.
The bills will make it easier for Virginians to receive treatment for mental health issues, allow more information sharing among providers, require closer monitoring of people in community based treatment and expand criteria under which a mentally ill person can be barred from buying guns, according to the Washington Post today.
Some of the bills (and some already signed by the Governor) specify additional planning and procedures for higher education institutions to prevent future tragedies. Virginia’s Community Colleges got a head start on emergency preparedness with a task force on emergency preparedness that published a report in January.