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

For Immediate Release

May 5, 2009
Contact:    Alyce McEachern

                  Office of Public Affairs
                  Phone: (803) 898-8585
                  Pager: (803) 929-8668

May is Mental Health Month

Columbia, SC: Honoring the one in five South Carolinians who live with a mental illness, the South Carolina Department of Mental Health (SCDMH) joins in the national recognition of May as Mental Health Month.

Each year, SCDMH, advocacy groups, churches, schools, and civic organizations challenge South Carolinians to consider their views toward mental illnesses, and to respect the brave people who live with these medical disorders. The driving message this year is that recovery is real for people with mental illnesses, and that the stigma associated with these disorders must be eliminated.

“Many people across our nation are currently facing anxiety and stress,” said DMH Medical Director Robert Bank, MD. “Economic problems and job loss can lead to family tensions, depression, feelings of isolation and/or substance abuse. We also worry that people who need psychiatric medication are now struggling to afford it.  Now more than ever, it is clear that we must give as much attention to our mental health as we do our physical health.”

A month-long exhibit at the Columbia Museum of Art entitled The Art of Recovery will be on display from May 12 through June 28. This exhibit features art by people living with mental illnesses and use art as a means of healing and recovery. In addition, SCDMH mental health centers and facilities across the state will hold various events commemorating Mental Health Month; for events in your area, call your local mental health center.  Contact information is listed at

Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day is celebrated today; youth involved with the Federation of Families of SC, Youth Council in Action, and Richland/Lexington Youth Network held a presentation on the steps of the State Capitol.
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.  It operates 17 community mental health centers, four psychiatric hospitals, and three nursing care centers, including two for veterans, and last year served almost 100,000 citizens, including 33,000 children.