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

For Immediate Release
September 23, 2008

Contact: Geoffrey J. Mason, Deputy Director, DMH Community Mental Health Services
     Phone: (803) 898-8348

     Phil Butler, Director, Office of Veterans’ Affairs, SC Governor’s Office
     Phone: (803) 734-0200

Team South Carolina to Serve Returning Veterans

Columbia, SC – On August 11 through 13, South Carolina joined nine other states and federal groups in Bethesda, M.D. for The Returning Veterans and Their Families Strategic Planning Conference and Policy Academy, a summit dedicated to assisting veterans and their families in returning to civilian life by identifying and providing needed services in a variety of areas. 

South Carolina has one of the higher numbers of veterans, per capita, in the nation, approximately 410,000.  As recent studies have indicated, returning veterans and their families face a complex set of challenges, from psychological problems, like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, to finding suitable employment and housing. 

Team South Carolina is a statewide coalition comprising directors from the Governor’s Office, the Governor’s Office of Veterans’ Affairs, Health and Human Services, Vocational Rehabilitation, the Department of Mental Health and the Employment Security Commission.  The team also includes representatives from the South Carolina National Guard, the Dorn VA Medical Center, the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce, the South Carolina Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and the Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services. 

Led by John H. Magill, State Director of the Department of Mental Health, the team’s vision is to develop a strategic action plan to identify needed services, make these services easily accessible, and ultimately help South Carolina’s veterans and their families return to healthy, successful lives.  Together, this group of professionals is answering the call of South Carolina veterans and their families.  Said Phil Butler, Director of The Governor’s Office of Veterans’ Affairs, “This is a dynamic team, and it’s ready to do its duty.”