FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 15, 2021
Contact: Jennifer Butler
SC Senator Katrina Shealy Receives Suicide Prevention Award
Columbia, SC – This morning, at the South Carolina Suicide Prevention Coalition’s quarterly meeting, South Carolina State Senator Katrina F. Shealy was presented the Suicide Prevention Champion Award by Associate Director of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention-SC Chapter and Coalition Co-Chair Vanessa Riley. The Award recognizes individuals who have made exceptional contributions in the fight to prevent suicide and eliminate the stigma too often associated with suicide and mental health disorders in South Carolina.
Senator Shealy has served as a member and co-chair of South Carolina’s State Suicide Prevention Coalition since its relaunch in 2016, where she has been instrumental in developing and implementing the group’s State Plan. This year, Shealy sponsored and championed Senate Bill 231, the Student Identification Card Suicide Prevention Act, which was signed into law in May.
In addition to her work in this statewide Coalition, she also serves as Chair of the Senate Family and Veterans’ Services Committee, and is a member and past chair of the Joint Citizens and Legislative Committee on Children. She is also a member of the State Child Fatality Advisory Committee and the State Domestic Violence Advisory Committee, is a past chair of the Southern Legislative Conference’s Human Services and Public Safety Committee, and is the current Chair of the National Foundation for Women Legislators.
“Over the past 20 months, it has become clearer than ever to Americans that having support and resources in place for our family, friends, and neighbors in crisis is paramount. Senator Shealy has long known the importance of these issues and been a fierce advocate of expanding resources, fighting stigma, ending suicide, and supporting South Carolinians in need of that helping hand,” said South Carolina Department of Mental Health State Director and Coalition Co-chair Kenneth Rogers, MD. “Her work on this Coalition, particularly her support of the ID Card Law, has been invaluable in furthering these goals and it will save lives.”
The SCDMH’s mission is to support the recovery of people with mental illnesses, giving priority to adults with serious and persistent mental illness and children and adolescents with serious emotional disturbances. The Agency serves approximately 100,000 people each year, approximately 30,000 of whom are children and adolescents. As South Carolina’s public mental health system, it provides outpatient mental health services through a network of 16 community mental health centers and associated clinics, serving all 46 counties, and psychiatric hospital services via three State hospitals, including one for substance use treatment. In addition to mental health services, the Agency provides long-term care services in one community nursing care center and three State veterans’ nursing homes.