South Carolina Observes Mental Health Month

Columbia, SC – Recognizing South Carolinians who are living with a mental illness, the South Carolina Department of Mental Health (SCDMH) joins the nation in commemorating May as Mental Health Month.

Each year, the SCDMH, mental health advocacy groups, churches, schools and civic organizations strive to raise awareness about the importance of mental health, challenge South Carolinians to consider their views toward mental illness, respect those who live with these medical disorders, and fight the stigma that too often prevents people in need from seeking help. SC Governor Henry McMaster has issued a proclamation declaring May as Mental Health Month.

“At the Department of Mental Health we strive to find new and innovative ways to help those who live with mental illness,” said SCDMH State Director John H. Magill. “From the expansion of our award winning Telepsychiatry services to our School Mental Health services programs, we are dedicated to early intervention, improved access, providing ongoing support, and fighting stigma.”

“Mental health treatment works, and treatment is available,” said Agency Spokesman and Deputy Director Mark Binkley. “The Department has more than 60 community mental health clinics around the State, serving every county.”

According to Binkley however, just having many locations doesn’t always guarantee access to care. “That is why the Department established access guidelines for its community mental health centers.” The access guidelines stipulate that routine requests for services should be offered an appointment within seven days, urgent referrals within two days, and emergency referrals should be seen the same day. All initial referrals are seen by a master’s level trained mental health professional. SCDMH monitors its Centers performance on meeting the access guidelines and currently its community mental health centers are meeting the access standards 96% of the time. The statewide average number of days between a referral and the first available appointment is currently two days, and many SCDMH Centers have same-day access to care for new patients.

Many SCDMH centers will hold public events to mark Mental Health Month. For a calendar of these activities, view the Agency’s Mental Health Month toolkit, at scdmh.net/welcome/may-is-mental-health-month. To find Mental Health Month events in your area, discover ways you can help raise awareness during Mental Health Month, request a speaker on Mental Health topics, or learn more about the programs and services offered by the South Carolina Department of Mental Health call (800) 763-1024 or visit our web site at www.scdmh.org.

The South Carolina Department of Mental Health’s mission is to support the recovery of people with mental illnesses, giving priority to adults with serious and persistent mental illness and to children and adolescents with serious emotional disturbances. The Agency serves approximately 100,000 citizens with mental illnesses, approximately 30,000 of whom are children and adolescents, and provides outpatient services through a network of seventeen community mental health centers and numerous clinics. It also operates multiple inpatient hospitals, including one for substance use treatment, one community nursing care center, and three veterans’ nursing homes.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 2, 2018
Contact:   SCDMH Office of Public Affairs
Phone: (803) 898-8582
E-mail: tracy.lapointe@scdmh.org

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