For Immediate Release
Contact: SCDMH John Hutto, (803) 898-8584
SCDMH Provides Grants for Local Crisis Programs
Columbia, SC – With over 250 public and private psychiatric hospital beds having closed in South Carolina over the past few years, state healthcare leaders know that jails and local emergency rooms are fast becoming the crisis programs for people suffering from a mental illness and a substance abuse disorder (co-occurring disorder).
To help solve this problem, the South Carolina Department of Mental Health (SCDMH) has provided $500,000 to start or enhance four crisis stabilization programs around South Carolina for people suffering from a co-occurring disorder. Joining the SCDMH community mental health centers in the operation of these programs will be members of the South Carolina Hospital Association (SCHA), local commissions of the South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services (SCDAODAS), county sheriffs’ departments, and other community groups.
Among the many benefits outlined in the grants are adding crisis beds, increasing staff, improving transportation services, expanding hours of operation, improving accessibility for services, freeing up beds in local hospitals and emergency departments, and making less use of expensive state psychiatric beds.
The SCDMH community mental health centers receiving the grants include Charleston/Dorchester CMHC, Pee-Dee CMHC in Florence, Spartanburg CMHC, and Waccamaw CMHC in Conway.
Said SCDMH State Director George P. Gintoli, “The DMH, DAODAS, and the SCHA are partnering to lead in the design of systems of care for South Carolina. In a small way, these grants will enable us to focus our collaborative efforts on the issues in the emergency rooms and jails in our state. Local planning in our communities needs to intensify so that all stake holders can be part of the solution.”
DAODAS Executive Director Lee Catoe added, “It’s important for us to be involved in these initiatives, and we are excited about the proactive collaborations underway. Permanent local work groups, with state agency support, will be able to resolve the problems in ways best suited to their needs.”
Jeffrey Moore, executive director of the South Carolina Sheriffs’ Association, believes that the crisis stabilization grants are a “win – win” for everyone involved. He said, “Crisis stabilization is absolutely the key to keeping people with mental illness from falling into our criminal justice system…and relieving law enforcement from having to sit days or weeks in emergency rooms waiting for a mental health bed to become available.”
According to the U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on Mental Illness, within the last twelve months, 28.8 percent of the general population ages 15-54 had a concurrent mental illness and substance abuse disorder. Further, within the last twelve months, 14.7 percent of people with a mental illness also had a current substance abuse disorder, and 42.7 percent of people with a current substance abuse disorder also had a current mental illness.