Virginia College Mental Health Study

Report on the Virginia College Mental Health Survey

The Joint Commission on Health Care of the Virginia General Assembly, in coordination with The Commission on Mental Health Law Reform, conducted a survey to gather comprehensive empirical information from colleges in Virginia regarding the adequacy of students' access to mental health services and the ways in which colleges respond to students' mental health crises.

Commission on Mental Health Law Reform

Civil Commitment Hearings: District Court Variations, July 2009 -  June 2010

In this report, the Commission summarizes the disposition of commitment hearings for FY 2010. The data presented below pertain only to hearings involving adult respondents not under a commitment order or in penal confinement at the time of the hearing. (In other words, the data exclude recommitment hearings as well as cases involving juveniles and persons in jail.) We refer to these hearings as “initial commitment hearings.”

Virginia Civil Commitment Procedure and Practice

Policy Analysis and Recommendations to Increase Voluntary Admission

What policy changes can the Virginia Commission on Mental Health Law Reform recommend and implement to reduce the number of involuntary commitments in favor of voluntary admission? The Commonwealth of Virginia Commission on Mental Health Law Reform (the Commission), is tasked with improving mental health laws, procedure, and policy to better serve people with mental illness. One of the Commission’s goals is to increase the fairness and effectiveness of the civil commitment process. All of the analysis presented in this report is the result of extensive inquiry. With the aid of quantitative data, I was able to identify and target areas of the state with large variation in involuntary commitment rates among either Community Service Boards (CSBs) or special justices. I interviewed CSB emergency services managers and special justices about their operating procedures and attitudes concerning civil commitment. I also spoke with mental health experts and hospital officials including doctors, intake coordinators, personnel managers, nurses, and social workers. While current civil commitment procedure in Virginia allows individuals suffering from mental health crises to admit themselves voluntarily, many people do not. There are several reasons beyond a lack of capacity that might influence a person’s decision not to agree to care voluntarily. Based on my research and analysis, I recommend five specific policies that the Commission could adopt or recommend to encourage the election of voluntary admission by people with mental illnesses in lieu of involuntary commitment.