Six years ago, when Tim Steller took over the community services board that serves the Roanoke Valley’s mentally ill, change was in the air.
A mass shooting at Virginia Tech by a mentally disturbed student had raised public awareness of shortcomings in the state’s mental health system. Steller’s agency, Blue Ridge Behavioral Healthcare, stood to benefit from more funding and resources.
Then came the recession of 2008, and with it statewide budget cuts to community-based treatment.
Steller, who will retire next week as Blue Ridge’s executive director, has seen the promise of change give way to the reality of reduced state funding.
“It’s sort of a mixed picture,” he said Wednesday.