Va Senator Creigh Deeds Speaks At Press Club: Never Felt Son Dangerous

“I’ve not lost my purpose or sense of urgency!”

An emotional speech by a most welcomed advocate for mental health reform.

Some highlights:

1. He twice involuntarily committed his son before the tragedy that ended with Deeds in the hospital and his son’s suicide.

2. Because his son was an adult, no psychiatrist ever talked to him about his son’s condition which he found frustrating.

3. His son stopped taking his medication before the attack. “My son talked about how the drugs hurt him, physically hurt him.”

4. Deeds was told and believed his son would outgrow his mood disorder.

5. “Never felt afraid.,” Deeds said.  Never felt his son was dangerous.

6. Deeds said because his son’s illness surfaced when he was an adult, his only option was going before a magistrate. “What do you do with someone who refuses to be treated?” Deeds asked.  He said he didn’t have an answer for that.

“My goal is to remake the system….”

Senator Deeds discusses Inspector General report at 31:09 in the youtube report. Deeds said he was not concerned about the flap over the resignation of former Inspector General Doug Bevelacqua or his charges that his report was heavily edited. He said that he met with Bevelacqua’s boss, Michael F.A. Morehart, and that the former FBI agent assured him that he’d only “changed adjectives” in the original report, not contents.Deeds said he had faith in “law enforcement” and he didn’t believe Morehart had hidden any information. He said  Bevelacqua’s version would have “taken it a step further” and contained “exclamation points.”  Overall, he was not concerned about the contents of the report. “It’s all out there.”

Deeds added that before his family tragedy he had not been aware of a 2012 report that Bevelacqua had issued that warned state officials that patients were being “streeted.”  Bevelacqua claims state officials were remiss in not implementing changes he recommended. When asked if he blamed anyone, Deeds said, “Some things I just don’t want to talk about, I think what happened was a system failure, both there were people at fault and organizations at fault.” But Deeds said what happened to him was representative of what happens all across the nation, adding “that doesn’t relieve the individuals who are in positions to do something from any responsibility for their actions.”

The audience applauded when Deeds said a lack of funding did not excuse what happened to his son.

“If I were king….I might reform HIPAA…sometimes all you know is the  (hospital) bill that comes in…I would probably make major changes to HIPAA if I were at the federal level…”

Deeds said that his son was one of the smartest people he met. His son knew what answers to give evaluators when he wanted out of a hospital.

Deeds said he spent the last three years of his son’s life worried he would end up homeless or in prison. He felt his son was going to end up in Western Hospital for a long time before the incident. That was a grim reality for a father to accept, he said.

About the author:

Pete Earley is the bestselling author of such books as The Hot House and Crazy. When he is not spending time with his family, he tours the globe advocating for mental health reform.

Learn more about Pete.