Debate Continues on Mental Health Crisis Needs

How much time should the state allow for mental health crisis situations? Committees in both houses of the General Assembly yesterday debated that question in an effort to advance bills that would give mental health workers more time to find psychiatric beds for patients who meet the criteria for temporary detention. Sen. Creigh Deeds’ proposal suggests increasing the maximum duration of emergency custody orders from six hours to 24 hours. But, competing proposals suggest cutting the emergency custody period in half. The governor’s task force has recommended a 12-hour emergency custody period. All measures go next to the budget-writing House Appropriations Committee, which will assess the cost of the proposals.

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