On Tuesday, April 1st 8 leaders from IMPACT met with State Senator Creigh Deeds to discuss our mental health initiative. He and our leaders see from both research and personal experience just how broken our mental healthcare system is. He wanted to be clear that while the Charlottesville/Albemarle area is suffering from a shortage of mental health services, particularly in the area of child psychiatry, we are one of the better off communities in the state. If we are experiencing a psychiatric shortage in our area, then it is even worse in more rural counties. Many of these areas have no access to child psychiatric services.
We found common ground in the fact that the way things are is simply not good enough. There are many places where our system needs fixing. Senator Deeds has been working tirelessly, to look at immediate stop-gap measures to help those in serious crisis. He is committed to looking at systemic problems within the Community Service Board System, which is charged with providing community mental health and other services throughout the state.
We affirmed that we are grateful for his efforts and support him, and he affirmed that he is committed to continue working on this problem.
He was unable to commit to the Nehemiah Action at this date, due to his schedule to be in court in Bath County that day, and uncertainties with general assembly work on the budget. However, he does have the event on his calendar and it may yet be possible for him to attend, given that his evening calendar that day is free. He did commit to respond to any questions we sent him.
We want to be sure he knows that we are looking to stand in solidarity and take action with him, and that the Nehemiah Action is a great opportunity to continue building a long term working relationship so that together we can see real, systemic change.