RICHMOND (AP) -- Gov. Bob McDonnell is proposing increased mental health funding and the creation of a task force to look at ways to head off mental health crises.

The governor announced the initiatives Tuesday. They follow the November death of a Virginia state senator's son less than one day after he had been released from emergency custody.

McDonnell is proposing more than $38 million in state funding over the next two-year budget cycle for critical mental health services. The task force would include mental health and law enforcement officials among its members.

Virginia mental health officials have already announced changes in response to the death of Sen. Creigh Deeds' son Gus.

Citing the Virginia Tech massacre, McDonnell said Virginians have experienced 'tremendous heartache' as a result of mental health tragedies.

Governor-elect Terry McAuliffe said, 'I commend Governor McDonnell for taking these important steps toward reforming our mental health system. Too many tragic events in this Commonwealth have underscored the need for reforms and more resources when it comes to mental health and crisis response in Virginia. As governor I will work with the General Assembly to build upon the solid foundation Governor McDonnell laid today so that all Virginians can access the care and resources they need to live safe, healthy and productive lives here in the Commonwealth.'

AP-WF-12-10-13 1633GMT

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