By MELINDA WILLIAMS
Psychiatric Society of Virginia named 12th District Delegate Joseph Yost its 2013 Legislator of the Year for his “emergence as an advocate for access to care and early intervention for individuals with mental illness.”
Yost, a Republican in his first term with Virginia’s House of Delegates, was appointed by Gov. Bob McDonnell in January to serve on the Governor’s Task Force for School and Campus Safety. He was selected for the appointment partially as a result of his mental health advocacy.
In 2012, Yost successfully advocated for $1.2 million in the 2012-14 state budget for crisis assessment centers in Virginia. This year he successfully advocated for additional funding for mental health/suicide awareness training, children’s mental health services, and discharge assistance planning and crisis assessment centers.
“I am truly honored…” Yost said of the award, which he will officially accept at the Society’s March 22 Spring Board Meeting in Richmond. “For many years, advocating for individuals with mental illness and their families has been a passion and while we have accomplished a lot over the past two years, much work remains to be done. I look forward to continuing my advocacy for the one in four.”
Yost chairs Virginia Health Workforce Development Authority, which oversees creation of a pipeline to direct healthcare professionals, especially mental health, to Virginia’s medically under served areas.
The 12th District includes all of Giles County, parts of Montgomery and Pulaski counties and Radford city.