Feature

The price of ignoring mental illness

The saddest thing about the family tragedy of Virginia state Sen. Creigh Deeds is that it was preventable.

Michael Tomasky
TheDailyBeast.com

The saddest thing about the family tragedy of Virginia state Sen. Creigh Deeds is that it was preventable, said Michael Tomasky. Deeds was repeatedly stabbed in the head and chest last week by his mentally ill son, Gus, who then committed suicide. “Gus Deeds should have been in a psychiatric ward,” but health workers couldn’t find a psychiatric bed for him anywhere in a wide area of Virginia. That’s probably because Virginia cut funding for psychiatric beds by 15 percent between 2005 and 2010, and is now considering deeper cuts. Tragically, this is a nationwide trend. States cut $4.35 billion from mental health services between 2009 and 2012, even though 10 percent more people sought care during that period. The U.S.’s per capita psychiatric bed population is now the same as it was in 1850—“yes, 1850, around when the very idea of caring for mentally ill people first started!” When budgets get tight, psychiatric care is always one of the first things on the chopping block. Who cares about the mentally ill and their families? As a result of this indifference, Gus Deeds is dead, and his father—though alive—is heartbroken. Shame on us all.

Recommended

Group of 7 pledges almost $20B in aid for Ukraine
G7 officials discuss Ukraine aid package.
cash infusion

Group of 7 pledges almost $20B in aid for Ukraine

Biden's trip to Asia, explained
President Biden.
Briefing

Biden's trip to Asia, explained

Monkeypox comes to America
A monkeypox warning.
Briefing

Monkeypox comes to America

The global movement to give nature 'rights'
Scales.
Briefing

The global movement to give nature 'rights'

Most Popular

College student who delivered baby before graduation surprised at hospital
Jada Sayles receives her diploma.
major milestones

College student who delivered baby before graduation surprised at hospital

Russian state TV military analyst backpedals criticism of Ukraine invasion
Mikhail Khodarenok
'the colonel has been reined back in'

Russian state TV military analyst backpedals criticism of Ukraine invasion

Elon Musk reportedly offered to trade a horse for an erotic massage
Elon Musk
A horse?

Elon Musk reportedly offered to trade a horse for an erotic massage