CHESAPEAKE, Va. – Last week’s mass shooting is more evidence of what Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R-Virginia) calls a mental health crisis going on nationwide.
“So much of it is really a moment to reflect on the state of mind of the nation and Virginia and this mental health crisis we know we are in the middle of and to work together to chart a path forward to address it,” Youngkin told reporters last week.
Youngkin said he wants to work with state lawmakers to identify additional initiatives to help address mental health.
On Monday, News 3 spoke with mental health professionals about what that might look like.
Staff at the Hampton-Newport News Community Services Board treats thousands of people in need of mental health treatment. They said they need more funding to retain staff.
“We hope that with this upcoming session, we will see some funding that will help us address our workforce,” said Dr. Daphne Cunningham, the deputy executive director.
The funding needs to be sustained, they said, so if programs are offered, they can continue to be.
“It’s not just a one-time, ‘okay, you’ve got this part of the funding, and now you can do this,’ it’s an ongoing checking in, what more do you need, so that we can keep this going,” said Cunningham.
Those efforts also continue to help young people and children.
“The only limits we have now are based on what staffing we can offer. We have an urgent care center, we have a mobile crisis, and we’re, we’re serving as many people as we can, but that needs to be more fully resourced as well as part of our continuum,” said Lisa Hogge, the director of youth and family services.
Kurt Hooks, the CEO of the Virginia Beach Psychiatric Center, said lawmakers need to be strategic in determining where the funding goes, so avoid redundancy. He believes the upcoming session is a good opportunity for the General Assembly to take some important steps.
“We’re all here to focus on one outcome here – that is doing something that is going to be substantive, meaningful, actionable,” said Hooks.
The General Assembly session begins in January. Gov. Youngkin will outline his budget priorities on Dec. 15.
SEE MORE: Here’s how you can help support the families of the mass shooting victims