mental health

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Several new state laws are going into effect Saturday in Virginia, potentially impacting how Virginians drive, what kind of alcohol they buy, and what they wear when they go hunting.

The Republican-controlled General Assembly and Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe earlier this year passed provisions that put in place a $100 fine for driving too slowly in the left lane on highways, allow state-owned liquor stores to sell the hard liquor Everclear, and let hunters wear blaze pink instead of blaze orange.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The Virginia Health Care Foundation has announced a new $1.5 million program designed to increase access to mental health care for uninsured residents and those with little to no medical care.

Richmond Times Dispatch reports Beyond Blue was revealed on Monday as a two-year initiative beginning this summer. It will focus on the number of psychiatric nurse practitioners in Virginia, treating depression in diabetic patients and implementing a trauma-informed care approach.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Attorney General Mark Herring is meeting with law enforcement officials, mental health advocates and others to discuss ways to improve re-entry services for people preparing to leave local and regional jails.

The attorney general's office is hosting five training sessions on re-entry programs this month for local law enforcement agencies, service providers and others stakeholders. The attorney general's office says the sessions are designed to help localities implement more effective services that help offenders succeed when they go back into the community.

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WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - Gov. John Carney is signing an executive order aimed at improving cabinet-level discussions regarding services for Delaware families.

The new Family Services Cabinet Council being established by Carney will coordinate public services for families, including access to affordable housing, mental health and substance abuse treatment, and early childhood education.

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BALTIMORE (AP) - Baltimore Police and a mental health organization are launching a pilot program to offer some drug offenders treatment instead of jail.

Police and Behavioral Health System Baltimore announced Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion, or LEAD, at a news conference Monday.

Through the program, police officers can refer people suspected of low-level drug or prostitution crimes to case managers, who will help them get services, including drug treatment, mental health services and housing assistance.

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There will be a new psychiatric hospital in Sussex County bringing 133 new jobs.

The 93-thousand square foot facility is expected to be completed by May of 2018 spread over some six acres in Georgetown.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that it will have 90 inpatient and outpatient beds and will cost up to $25 million to build.

There will also be at state grant of just over $700-thousand to support 133 full-time jobs.

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WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - A federal judge has released the state of Delaware from a 2011 settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice, affirming that the state has reformed its public mental health system.

Local news organizations report that U.S. District Court judge Leonard P. Stark signed the order Tuesday after the DOJ and the state filed a motion to dismiss the settlement agreement. The joint motion states that Delaware has implemented reforms to transform, expand and enhance its ability to serve people with serious and persistent mental illness.

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BALTIMORE (AP) - A monitoring agency says in its latest quarterly report that juvenile jails in Maryland are understaffed and lack therapeutic treatment.

The Juvenile Justice Monitoring Unit, an independent unit under the umbrella of the attorney general's office, released its findings Tuesday.

The report outlines "critical staffing shortages" and a dearth of therapeutic and mental health services for youth, many of whom "feel as if they're just doing time."

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PORTSMOUTH, Va. (AP) - The Portsmouth chapter of the NAACP is calling for a federal investigation into the death of a mentally ill jail inmate who died while waiting for a bed at a state mental hospital.

NAACP Portsmouth chapter President James Boyd says in a statement that the group is seeking an investigation to ensure that improvements are made after the death of 24-year-old Jamycheal Mitchell. The Virginian-Pilot  reports that Mitchell was arrested in April after authorities accused him of stealing snacks and a soda from a convenience store.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The Maryland Senate has approved a bill to make funding for community health providers more stable to provide better access to services for people suffering from mental health and substance abuse disorders.

The Senate voted 35-9 on Monday for a measure known as the "Keep the Door Open Act." It now goes to the House.

The measure indexes annual funding in the state budget to account for inflation. Advocates say the legislation is needed to attract and retain qualified licensed professionals and direct care workers.

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