FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: July 9th, 2019
Office of Senator Siobhan Dunnavant
Contact: Marshall Moreau
RICHMOND - Legislation presented by Senator Siobhan Dunnavant to make both mental health services more accessible and centralize threat reports was heard today during the special session in Senate Education and Health Committee. It was then rereferred to the Crime Commission.
“In almost every shooting there are reports of threats, but they are often scattered among different agencies making it hard to see a pattern of risk or happen after the fact because there was uncertainty of where to report. Developing a centralized reporting system ensures both that threats are shared with all levels of law enforcement and citizens know where they can anonymously report . This can increase the likelihood of intervention before tragedy,” Senator Siobhan Dunnavant (R-Henrico) stated.
Separate, twenty-four hour mental health services also offer anonymous opportunity to get information about mental health support resources for a user without making an appointment. Crises intervention can assist with emergent care, prevent suicide and connect resources for individuals and families struggling with addiction. The ability to report or ask questions anonymously removes stigma as an obstacle.
This bill was presented initially during the 2019 legislative session as SB1608 as a school safety app. Earlier this year, it was voted to go to a study with the Department of Homeland Security.
Senator Dunnavant finished by saying, “as the tragedy in Virginia Beach motivates us to find ways to reduce risk, this app is a resource to which all Virginians should have access. This is legislation that we can all agree on to protect our community, our loved ones and our children.”