Task Force Will Help Virginians Who Need Critical Mental Health Care
Governor Glenn Youngkin has announced the launch of a major initiative to end the Temporary Detention Order (TDO) crisis. The Prompt Placement TDO Task Force brings together government agencies, public and private hospitals, law enforcement, and other community partners to address the crisis facing people with TDOs who are waiting for behavioral health services.
“Improving our behavioral health system is at the top of my Day 2 Agenda. It is critical that we address the mental health crisis and prioritize caring for Virginians,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “I’m committed to making substantial progress in providing access to resources, caring for Virginians and reforming the TDO process.”
“Virginia’s current TDO process is bad for patients, care providers, families, and law enforcement who wait with these patients for a placement,” said Secretary of Health and Human Resources John Littel. “This Task Force is a key step in improving the behavioral health system across the Commonwealth.”
“Virginia’s hospitals support strengthening Virginia’s behavioral health system to ensure patients have access to treatment when they need it. Our hospitals are actively engaged in this work each day by providing inpatient and outpatient behavioral health care to Virginians across the state,” said Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association (VHHA) President and CEO Sean T. Connaughton. “We are deeply appreciative that Governor Youngkin’s ‘Prompt Placement TDO Taskforce’ is emphasizing treatment options for individuals who experience a mental health crisis and need urgent, inpatient psychiatric care.”
“This is the most dedicated effort we have seen in 25 years towards trying to address the problem of getting mental health beds available to people,” said Dana Schrad, Executive Director of the Virginia Chiefs of Police Association. “This effort is way overdue, and in the end, it should save Virginian’s lives and save much-needed law enforcement resources.”
“The Virginia Sheriffs’ Association is pleased to partner with Governor Youngkin to address the mental health crisis in Virginia. We are looking forward to returning to a day in which those in need of mental health services get immediate attention, allowing law enforcement officers to return to their primary public safety duties,” John Jones, Executive Director of the Virginia Sheriffs Association.
In 14 months (June 2021 – July 2022), there were 21,099 TDOs in the Commonwealth. Individuals under TDOs are often in a crisis and unable to receive care due to a lack of appropriate resources and barriers in the TDO process. The average wait time for an individual under a TDO to receive a placement and care has risen to 43 hours in Virginia.
The present TDO process has failed by not delivering care to patients when they need it most. The process also contributes significantly to increased workforce burnout within healthcare and extensive hours devoted by our law enforcement. The objectives of the Task Force include ending the TDO waitlist, finding rapid placements for individuals under a TDO, releasing police officers from spending significant hours away from patrolling the streets, ensuring the safety of all parties, and setting the stage for lasting systematic change to the way Virginia processes TDOs.
Janet Kelly, who successfully led the Governor’s Safe and Sound Task Force earlier this year, will head up this new initiative along with representatives from multiple agencies, community service boards, law-enforcement and hospitals.