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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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November 20th, 2013
05:31 PM ET

Rep. Murphy: Federal, state, and local governments share blame for Virginia stabbing

(CNN) - Virginia state Sen. Creigh Deeds was stabbed repeatedly by his son who later killed himself.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch newspaper, citing a mental health official, reported Tuesday that the younger Deeds had been given a mental health evaluation under an emergency custody order Monday.

"We have a long list of blame here, and it goes to the federal, the state, the local level," said Republican Congressman Tim Murphy, who is a former psychologist.

At the federal level, there's been a push from some agencies to reduce the number of hospital beds and reduce mandatory outpatient treatment, said Murphy.

"Back in the '50s, we had half a million hospital beds, and now we have 40,000," said Murphy.

"When medications came out in the 1950s, we found a lot of people in hospitals really didn't need to be there. They could be successful outside in the community," said Murphy. "But what happened was, there was such a push to reduce them that now we've gone too far. States have also cut their budgets for the mentally ill, and local communities just have drastic shortages."

When someone has a mental illness and is a danger to themselves or someone else, they can be held in a hospital, but then a judge or a magistrate needs to intervene and determine if that person needs more care. So getting a mentally ill person who needs help to the hospital is not the toughest hurdle.

"The question in any one of these cases, you can go through the 60-plus major shootings there have been by someone who's severely mentally ill, when they were brought to the hospital, did someone see them as a threat to themselves or other people?" said Murphy.

"We've heard many people where a parent has to go to the hospital and lie ... and say, 'My child tried to kill me, or my child threatened to kill me.' Without that danger, there's no reason the hospital personnel or magistrate will hold them," said Murphy.

For more of our interview with Congressman Tim Murphy, watch the video above.

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