South Carolina Department of Mental Health
2414 Bull Street, Columbia, SC 29202
News Release

For Immediate Release
October 6, 2008
Contact: Alyce C. McEachern
               Office of Public Affairs
               (803) 898-8585



Mental Health Employee Receives National Award

Elizabeth FreemanColumbia, SC - Elizabeth V. Freeman, LISW-CP/AP, LMSW, of the South Carolina Department of Mental Health's (DMH) Medical Director's Office, received the Juanita Cunningham Evans Memorial Award for her contributions to the advancement of school mental health services. This national award was presented during the Center for School Mental Health’s annual conference, held in Phoenix, AZ, September 25-27, 2008.

Juanita Cunningham Evans was instrumental in the development for the Center for School Mental Health Assistance, now called the Center for School Mental Health (CSMH). As an ongoing memorial to Juanita Evans, the CSMH established an annual award for contributions made to advance mental health programs in schools. It is given to an individual who has significantly impacted the advancement of school mental health training, practice, research and/or policy.

"DMH served more than 13,000 children in school-based programs last year," said DMH Medical Director Brenda Ratliff, MD. "Our goal is to reach children in need and to have counselors in every South Carolina school.  Beth goes above and beyond in helping us to reach that goal."

"Beth has demonstrated outstanding leadership in helping to guide the development of South Carolina's school mental health programs and services, which have shown dramatic growth and improvement under her leadership,” said Mark D. Weist, Ph.D, professor and director, Center for School Mental Health, University of Maryland School of Medicine, “South Carolina is now one of the leading states in the nation for school based mental health services, reducing academic and non academic barriers to student learning."

The Department of Mental Health serves approximately 103,000 citizens including 33,000 children and adolescents with mental illnesses. The Department provides outpatient services through a network of seventeen community mental health centers and numerous clinics. It also operates four psychiatric hospitals as well as three nursing centers, including two for veterans.