SC Department of Mental Health News Release

For Immediate Release

Contact: John Hutto, Office of Communications



Department of Mental Health Services Affected By Budget Reductions

Columbia, SC-April 11, 2001- Today, the South Carolina Department of Mental Health said that services to its clients will be hurt by the loss of about 500 employee positions across the state, part of the agency's response to a budget reduction projected to be about $ 40 million next year. These positions include 263 current vacancies that will go unfilled, 89 probationary positions, and 148 permanent positions.

"Everyone in our system of care will be affected by our budget reduction, but none more than our clients and their families who depend upon us for services," said George P. Gintoli, state director, Department of Mental Health. "If we are forced to discontinue programs, the people we serve will have few, if any, options for getting help."

Last year, the Department of Mental Health served almost 100,000 people who have a mental illness. About 90 % of those clients were treated in community programs, but both community-based and hospital-based programs will be hit by the budget reduction.

Among the programs that will be affected are those for children and adolescents; some school-based programs; programs for adults with serious mental illness; programs for people with a mental illness and addiction problems; client employment and housing programs; and more.

In some counties, satellite offices may be closed and programs consolidated, which will mean increased caseloads and clients having to travel greater distances for care. Some hospitals will be consolidated to achieve greater operational efficiencies.

The South Carolina Department of Mental Health provides services from seventeen community mental health centers and seven inpatient facilities.

Office of Communications
P.O. Box 485
Columbia, SC 20202
(803) 898-8581

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