Senator Deeds recognized with State Legislator of the Year Award
American Psychological Association Practice Organization presents him with Legislator of the Year Award
Anxiety, depression, alcoholism. We all know someone who suffers with a mental illness of some kind, or suffer from one ourselves. Statistics from the Center for Disease Control say one in five Americans suffer from some form of mental illness at some point in their lives. For some it is easier to talk about than others. Working for meaningful reform in our state’s “broken mental health system” is a challenge that may require all of us to join the conversation.
On March 15th, Senator Creigh Deeds received the State Legislator of the Year Award from the American Psychological Association Practice Organization. He was recognized for several reforms, which he readily admits are just the first steps to providing better care for the mentally ill.
Dr. Katherine Nordal executive director of the American Psychological Association Practice Organization who presented the award, said it is given to “ folks who have made significant contributions promoting mental health and quality mental health services either in terms of direct care or in terms of primary prevention.”
Some of the measures going into place as a result of Deeds’ work are: an extension of the amount of time allowing emergency service workers to find a psychiatric bed, funding for a real-time online registry of available beds, and requiring state mental health facilities to provide a bed when other facilities are full.
Dr. Nordal: I like the idea too that he is pushing for a four year comprehensive study of the publicly funded mental health system in the state”.
All of these are pieces of a larger effort to lead to lasting changes in treatment and recovery of the mentally ill.
She explained the nominees for the award come from 60 organizations across the country affiliated with the American Psychological Association. Then an executive committee of three selects the recipient.
“The senator is so, so very impressive, and compassionate. I think in terms of really looking at, and being committed to doing something about improving services for the most seriously ill of our patients with mental illness, Senator Deeds is right up there at the top.”
From his Hot Springs office, Senator Deeds reflected on his recent honor. “It’s always nice to be recognized, and certainly by a national group, but if we are to make significant progress, there is still a lot more to be done. The accomplishments we have reached in Virginia pale in comparison to the amount of work that lies ahead.”
Some of that “work that lies ahead” is discussed on the APA Practice Organization’s website which contains a help guide with topics ranging from families and children to finances and addiction.