Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. launched fresh efforts to strengthen mental health services in the Virgin Islands, more than three years after proclaiming a mental health state of emergency with nothing to show for it.
The governor revealed the revival of the V.I. Behavioral Health and Developmental Disability Act, which was aimed to meet gaps in care for inhabitants suffering from psychosocial health issues, mental conditions, physical disorders, and substance abuse disorders, during a press briefing reserved solely for notifications on COVID-19.
Even though the measure was introduced in the legislature, this was held up in committee. The new improved Mental Health Bill was put together in consultation with stakeholders and Sen. Novelle Francis Jr.’s office, which Bryan believes will speed up the consideration of the bill, which intends to improve the state’s attitude to behavioural health.
The bill has several modifications, but those mentioned by Bryan during the briefing provide a consensual therapeutic approach for those with psychological health issues, the assessment of mental capacity to appear in court, and the admission and treatment of people with addictions and substance dependence.
Families dealing with loved ones who are exhibiting mental health issues and disorders are also addressed in the measure.
There are also protections and rights for the homeless included in the law, according to Bryan, who said his staff gets frequent reports about “homeless folks who are dealing having mental health concerns and addressing with that is bundled within this measure.
Even though the bill has been submitted to the Legislature, it must still be reviewed and passed by various committees before it can be signed it into law.