South Carolina DMH Disaster Recovery Services provides a framework for the delivery of coordinated assistance to local mental health centers and hospitals to utilize crisis counseling and other disaster related services in time natural disaster or act of terrorism.
In disaster preparedness, the term "functional needs populations" is used to define groups whose needs are not fully addressed by the traditional service providers. It also includes groups that may feel they cannot comfortably or safely access and use the standard resources offered in disaster preparedness, response, and recovery. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Those who have a physically and/or mentally disability (bind, cognitive disorders, mobility limitations, deaf and hard of hearing)
- Have limited or are non-English speaking/understanding
- Medically or chemically dependent
- Geographically and culturally isolated
- Frail elderly and children
SCDMH is part of the SC Emergency Planning Committee for People with Functional Needs, a committee organizations and agencies that came together after Hurricane Hugo to:
- Improve emergency and disaster planning, policy development, and response to the functional needs of individuals and communities.
- Educate and promote the participation of state, local, and voluntary agencies, people with functional needs, and emergency management organizations in preparing for emergencies and disasters.
- This committee was among the first organized in the country to act as a resource for state leadership in planning for and responding to people with functional needs.