By JESSI GOWER
Capital News Service
RICHMOND – A month after being approved by the General Assembly, Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed House Bill 206 into law at the beginning of April. The legislation requires each four-year public institution of higher education in the commonwealth of Virginia to create and feature on its website information dedicated solely to the mental health resources available to students at the institution.
The bill was drafted and proposed by a group of students from the University of Virginia, including Hannah Bondurant, a third-year student at the university.
“It’s an easy solution that hopefully will bridge treatment that is available and people actually getting help,” Bondurant told the Cavalier Daily.
Mental health issues were a hot topic this session, especially after Delegate Creigh Deeds, D-Charlottesville, was stabbed multiple times by his son Gus Deeds, before Gus killed himself with a rifle. Later it was determined Gus Deeds had been released from an emergency custody ordered psychiatric evaluation.
Delegate Patrick Hope, D-Alrington, and Delegate Joseph Yost, R-Radford, said they knew this was legislation that dealt with an important issue. So. the two put their party affiliations aside as the House patrons for the bipartisan bill.
“Mental illness often manifests itself during the college years,” Hope stated in an article on the Cavalier Daily’s website. “Virginia’s colleges and universities are uniquely positioned to provide the necessary education that could ultimately lead to life-saving treatment.”
Now that the governor has signed it, the passed legislation is set to take effect on July 1, 2015.