Virginia Senator recounts mentally ill son attacking him

Sen. Creigh Deeds describes how the system failed his son when he was sent home from the ER because there were no psychiatric facilities that could admit him

In an emotional recollection of his mentally-ill son attacking him with a knife, Virginia State Sen. Creigh Deeds painfully illustrates the shortage of psychiatric beds for mentally ill youth in the U.S. The young man, Gus, committed suicide shortly after attacking his father when he was discharged from a hospital emergency room because there no psychiatric facilities that could admit him at the time.  Deeds tells his story to Scott Pelley for a 60 Minutes report on the plight of mentally ill youth and their families to be broadcast Sunday Jan. 26 at 7:00 p.m. ET/PT.

Below is a transcript of the excerpt:

Creigh Deeds: I really don't want Gus to be defined by his illness. I don't want Gus to be defined by what happened on the 19th. Gus was a great kid. He was a perfect son. It's clear the system failed. It's clear that it failed Gus. It killed Gus.

Gus Deeds was a talented musician on the Dean's list at the College of William and Mary. But after he turned 21, he became delusional and was diagnosed bipolar. Last November, his father, worried Gus would kill himself. He got a court order and sheriff's deputies to take him to an emergency room. There, calls went out to find an open bed in a psychiatric hospital. Because of a state law designed to protect patients, the court order would expire in six hours.

Scott Pelley: And if you didn't find a hospital bed in six hours, Gus was coming home.

Creigh Deeds: He was coming home. And I was concerned that if he came home, there was going to be a crisis.

No bed was found. There was no place to go but home.

Creigh Deeds: I didn't know what was going to happen. But, the next morning, I felt like there'd be a confrontation but I had no reason to think there'd be violence. But you know, I got ready for work and I went out to the barn to feed the horses and Gus was coming across the yard and I said, "Hey, Bud, how'd you sleep?" He said, "Fine." I turned my back. Had this feed thing in my hands, and he was just on me.

Scott Pelley: He attacked you.

Creigh Deeds: He got me twice, you know, stabbed me twice.

60 Minutes App

New Look. New Season. The 60 Minutes app for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch!

More from 60 Minutes