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Why we should know the cause of death

When someone suffering from a mental illness dies while under the care and custody of the state, all of us are responsible.  We need to be sure that we did all we could do.

State mental hospitals, prisons, local and regional jails operate with our consent. As voters and taxpayers we give authority to the government to operate these facilities. Along with that authority is the responsibility to ensure human beings and their families are treated with the care and respect you would expect if you were in state custody.

That is why the deaths of Mr. Mitchell (Hampton Roads Regional Jail last August) and Ms. Anderson (Central State Hospital in May) deserve answers. As reported in the media, the reasons given for these tragedies and how information was shared do not measure up.

Without that information and explanation, it looks like the systems designed to work for us are shutting us out. There is something to hide. They don’t care.

State hospitals, prisons and jails are places of last resort. Locked up and hidden behind FOIA exemptions, HIPAA and dysfunctional bureaucracies are real people who are hurting. Our system represents us and our standards and our compassion. Mental health care can and must work better for those confined to institutions – our institutions.

Bruce Cruser, Executive Director


Region IV 2nd Annual Recovery Conference “Hand in Hand” on Wednesday, August 31st

Registration Now Open to Those Outside Region IV!

John Tyler Community College, Chester Campus
13101 Jefferson Davis Hwy Chester (23831)
Registration Form Deadline: July 31st

This conference is for Peer Specialists, clinical staff, and individuals receiving services for mental health and/or substance use disorders. Please register early. Registration is now open to those interested outside of Region IV. The conference can accommodate 400 people.

For further information and/or a registration form, please call 804.318.8280 or email brewerb@chesterfield.gov for the form.


The mentally ill need a voice and most times unfortunately it can’t come from their loved ones but thankfully it can from agencies such as yours. Thank you.- Anonymous