SC Department of Mental Health News Release


For Immediate Release
August 23, 2002
Contact: John Hutto, Director of Communications
(803) 898-8584

Health Centers to Address Mental Health Care
Two SC Centers Among 67 Nationwide Adding Mental Health Services

Columbia, SC: Recognizing that mental disorders are medical disorders, 67 U.S. community health centers are adding or increasing mental health care services, thanks to a $6.6 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration.

In South Carolina, two community health centers each received $100,000. In addition to increasing the mental health care, these primary care centers may also bolster substance abuse services.

In Orangeburg, Family Health Center, Inc. will partner with the South Carolina Department of Mental Health to place mental health counselors in two Family Health offices - one in Orangeburg and one in Denmark. In return, Family Health will help place a primary care provider at SCDMH's Orangeburg Area Mental Health Center.

Sandhills Medical Foundation is the other South Carolina primary care facility to participate in the grant. Sandhills plans to use its $100,000 to hire staff and increase mental health services in the Lugoff/Camden area. Through coordination, cross-referrals and shared resources, Sandhills will work with SCDMH to ease the workload of the state mental health programs in Kershaw County.

The grants come to South Carolina as state budget cuts stress SCDMH's services. Even as the agency faces more cuts again this year, the demand for services is increasing.

The Health Resources and Services Administration's grants to the nation's community primary health care centers was part of a larger $19 million program designed to help these facilities increase mental health, substance abuse, oral health and pharmacy services.

For information on the Orangeburg/Denmark grant, call Bessie Abraham at (803) 536-1571. To learn more about the Lugoff/Camden grant, call Warren Hix at (843) 658-3005.

The South Carolina Department of Mental Health has been serving the mental health needs of South Carolinians since 1821. Its 5,300 employees and 8,505 volunteers offer services from 17 community mental health centers and seven inpatient facilities statewide. (800) 763-1024. Website:


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