Mental Health

Creigh Deeds Holds Mental Health Services ‘Responsible’ For Stabbing, Son’s Suicide

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

Virginia state Sen. Creigh Deeds (D) says he holds the Rockbridge Area Community Services Board, which administers mental health and substance abuse treatment, “responsible” for his stabbing and the suicide of his 24-year-old son, Austin “Gus” Deeds.

Deeds, 55, told the Bath County Recorder that he vows to help other families struggling with mental illness after the death of his son.

"I think there may be a bigger problem here. I am alive for a reason, and I will work for change. I owe that to my precious son," Deeds told the Recorder.

“I cry a lot. I can’t focus now and talk to anyone,” he said. “I have very strong opinions about the CSB, and feel like they are responsible. My life’s work now is to make sure other families don’t have to go through what we are living.”

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After an argument last Tuesday, Deeds’ son stabbed him in the face and chest. Gus Deeds was later found dying of self-inflicted gun shot would in the home.

The day before Gus underwent a psychiatric evaluation under an emergency order issued by a magistrate judge. The magistrate order lengthened the amount of time Gus could be detained involuntarily from 6 hours up to 72 hours.

But he was released from the hospital because there were allegedly no available psychiatric beds.

Three nearby hospitals later said they had space for Gus, but they were never contacted.

“I hope we can make a positive change as a result of this tragedy,” he said. “I hope the justice we can get for my son is to force change in the delivery system for mental-health services.”

Virginia has 40 community services boards.

“Bath and Highland [counties] are the end of the line,” Deeds said. “It seems inconvenient for those people to provide services here. I have heard from people in Rockbridge about lack of services, too, so I think there may be a bigger problem here. I am alive for a reason, and I will work for change. I owe that to my precious son.”

Sources: Washington Post, Bath County Recorder