September 22, 2021
Contact: Tracy LaPointe
(803) 898-8582

Suicide Prevention Champion Receives South Carolina’s Highest Service Award

Columbia, SC – This morning, Governor Henry McMaster presented the Order of the Silver Crescent to SCDMH’s Jennifer Butler, MSW, LISW/CP-S, at the South Carolina Suicide Prevention Coalition’s quarterly meeting.

The Order of the Silver Crescent, South Carolina’s most prestigious service award, recognizes those who have made significant contributions to the life and well-being of the state and nation. Established by Governor David Beasley in 1997, the Honor was specifically established to recognize a remarkable single achievement or action or an individual’s community service and volunteerism on the local level.

Butler, who has served in multiple clinical capacities in her 24-year tenure with the Agency, is director of SCDMH’s Office of Suicide Prevention. She is intensively trained in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, an evidence-based psychotherapy that is especially useful in treating mood disorders and suicidal ideation, and has spent the majority of her career as a skilled clinician to those at risk. In addition, she is trained in more than a dozen suicide prevention, postvention, and related techniques and is certified to train others in these areas.

As director of Suicide Prevention, Butler oversees a wide array of programs and trainings designed to eliminate suicide in South Carolina. In addition to providing training nationally and statewide, she coordinates multiple initiatives to ensure all citizens have the tools necessary to recognize and support those who may be experiencing distress. She recently worked with SC State Senator Katrina Shealy on the SC Student ID Card Suicide Prevention Act, which will add the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline '1-800-273-TALK (8255)' and Crisis Text Line numbers, along with other support lines, to student IDs.

“September is National Suicide Prevention Month. What better way to commemorate this observance than by honoring one of South Carolina’s suicide prevention champions who has dedicated her life to saving the lives of others?” said SCDMH State Director Kenneth Rogers, MD.

Butler lends her talents and expertise to multiple organizations, serving on the National Public Policy Council of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention; as Board president of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention SC Chapter, as team lead of the South Carolina Governor’s Challenge to Prevent Suicide Among Service Members, Veterans, and their Families, as a member of the South Carolina State Suicide Prevention Coalition, as a member of the South Carolina Faith Coalition Against Suicide, as a member of the South Carolina 988 Planning Coalition, as a member of the Midlands Veteran Engagement Council, and as a member of the Military Suicide Prevention Panel of South Carolina, among many others.

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 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.