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Behavioral Health Plan

About Right Help Right Now

Governor Youngkin created Right Help Right Now to reform our current behavioral health system in Virginia and support individuals in crisis. The goal of Right Help Right Now is to support Virginians before, during, and after a behavioral health crisis occurs. The Right Help Right Now plan aims to ensure that there will be same-day care delivered through mobile crisis units and crisis centers in order to reduce overcrowding at emergency departments. By doing so, there will be less strain on law enforcement who can instead better serve the communities where they are needed.

This will also serve to reduce the criminalization of mental health in Virginia. The Right Help Right Now plan includes specialized resources for individuals with substance use disorders or who have high risks of overdosing. Virginians should have immediate access to all the resources they need anytime and anywhere. The Right Help Right Now plan will transform the behavioral health system and make Virginia the best place to live, work, and raise a family.

Recent Updates

December 14, 2023. Year One Report of the Right Help Right Now Plan 

June 14, 2023. Governor Youngkin signed 24 bills into law that deliver on Right Help Right Now

Right Help, Right Now Year Two & Youth Mental Health Strategy

A Transformational Behavioral Health Plan for Virginians

Governor Glenn Youngkin announced the second phase of his three-year plan to fix Virginia's insufficient behavioral health care system. Young Virginians have suffered from addictive social media platforms, died at the hands of illicit fentanyl manufacturers and gone without access to the urgent care they needed. The next year will apply the Right Help, Right Now approach to specifically protect our children while continuing to work towards the three-year goals outlined last year. The Governor's introduced budget includes $500 million in new funding, including a funding strategy to expand school-based mental health services.


We are fundamentally changing the Commonwealth's infrastructure to improve mental health, address substance use disorders, and support Virginians with disabilities. We can go from a slow evolution to an accelerated revolution by scaling a three-year comprehensive transformational plan.

Public Mobile Crisis Teams 36     93     120     140
Crisis Receiving Center Slots 139     211     360     500
Short Term Crisis Beds 242     264     350     400
Funded DD Priority 1 Waiver Slots 16,939     18,039     19,759     21,479



Governor Youngkin proposed $500 million in new funding for his biennium budget. This is a giant step forward when combined with the funding appropriated in the last budget-bringing the commitment to nearly $1.4 billion, including:

  • $307 million to provide 3,440 waiver slots, a slot per person on the Priority One Waitlist
  • $23 million to expand access to school-based mental health services for children, including telehealth
  • $46 million to meet the three-year target of emergency room alternatives, such as crisis receiving centers and stabilization units, and publicly funded mobile crisis response teams to ensure that people have someone to respond and somewhere to go in a crisis
  • $10 million for partnerships with hospitals for build specialized emergency rooms for psychiatric patients called comprehensive psychiatric emergency programs.
  • $23 million to ease law enforcement burden, including expanding alternative transportation
  • $58 million for building a best-in-class behavioral health workforce through salary increases in state hospitals, behavioral health loan repayment, clinical training sites and more residency slots
  • $28 million in opioid abatement and response initiatives including a campaign to reduce youth fentanyl poisoning, wastewater monitoring, naloxone availability, and services for those with substance use disorder

 Youth Mental Health Strategy

  • Fund tele-behavioral health access
    We will fund tele-behavioral health access for grade 6-12 public schools and public colleges.
  • Expand eligibility for school-based mental health services
    We will expand eligibility for school-based mental health services to students across Virginia using a waiver and provide technical assistance and support to localities that provide matching funds and wish to utilize these services.
  • Protect minors' data privacy
    We will protect the privacy of all children under 18 years of age from social media companies by banning targeted advertising to children, selling children's data, or creating a marketing profile of a child without parental consent. Put guardrails on addictive design on social media sites We will prohibit social media companies from using addictive practices, designs, or features, such as auto-playing videos, gamification, and virtual gifts, on children. We will require social media companies to allow minors to remove or request removal of their content.
  • Limit social media abuse
    We will empower parents to put guardrails on minor's social media use and limit social media companies from disrupting teens' sleep by intentionally keeping children on their phones.
  • TikTok Ban
    We will protect minors from TikTok’s predatory influence in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
  • The Irvo Otieno Bill - Access to family members during evaluation for a mental health crisis
    We will ensure that Virginia families have the right to be in close physical proximity to a relative during a medical, mental health or substance use emergency and provide the relative with previously prescribed medications. Eliminate the bed of last resort for children We will empower parents with the right to consent for their child to receive inpatient psychiatric care and choose where their child receives inpatient psychiatric care, and exclude minors from code-mandated state psychiatric treatment.
  • Require parental notification of behavioral health events in schools
    We will require schools to notify parents when students overdose from drugs or schedule/receive counseling services. School boards would also be required to offer an option for parents to attend counseling sessions with their students.
  • Student activity monitoring rights and safety
    We will require school divisions monitoring student internet use to disclose to parents what activity is tracked and monitored, obtain parental consent, and notify parents when a safety alert is issued. We will require schools to set restrictive default limits on devices they issue.
  • Issue guidance for schools on student devices
    The Department of Education will issue guidance for schools to minimize disruptions to learning and protect children from addictive and harmful content on devices.


Year Two Right Help, Right Now Legislation

  • Expand the behavioral health workforce
    We will modernize outdated professions to create a new behavioral health aide role at an associate's degree level with specific training about behavioral health to expand the workforce in schools and other community settings
  • Health insurance coverage standards for mobile crisis teams
    We will ensure that Virginians in a behavioral health crisis have someone to respond when they call 988 by deeming mobile crisis response for mental health an emergency service, just as an ambulance is an emergency service for your physical health
  • Expand access to treatments in emergency room alternatives
    We will embrace innovative remote dispensing systems for on-site storage and automated dispensing of necessary medications in emergency room alternatives, such as crisis stabilization units
  • Reduce the burden on law enforcement by requiring use of alternative transportation
    This proposal mandates that a designated alternative transportation provider must be able to take custody of a person under an emergency custody order or temporary detention order no more than 6 hours after the issue of the alternative transportation order for that provider to be considered "available"
  • Behavioral health Certificate of Public Need (COPN) exemptions
    We will encourage hospitals to expand behavioral health access by lowering the cost of building new psychiatric hospital units and exempting psychiatric beds from the Certificate of Public Need requirement
  • Manufacturing or distributing illicit drugs that kill users will be a felony homicide
    When Schedule I or II drugs from a manufacturer or distributor are the proximate cause of the death, the manufacturer or distributor will be guilty of felony homicide

"The Internet does not provide our children with the same level of protection we expect in our schools and communities. That is why I am taking action to protect our young people from predatory social media practices while empowering families with new tools to support their children's mental health."

Image Governor Glenn Youngkin Signature


Community Services Boards (CSBs)

Pursuant to Virginia Code § 37.2-500, every county or city shall establish a community services board that will offer core services including:

  • Emergency services
  • Same-day mental health screenings
  • Outpatient primary care Case management services
  • Mental health, developmental, and substance abuse services

CSBs/BHAs provide community-based behavioral health and developmental services to individuals in their communities, including 24 hour-a-day response to psychiatric emergencies; support for children, adults, and older adults with specific needs; residential support, outpatient services, professional development training, and day support service needs of individuals with severe mental illness; and much more.

To access these resources, please find your local CSB/BHA using this Community Service Board directory.