South Carolina Department of Mental Health
Contact: John Hutto
Governor Proclaims May as Mental Health Month 2004
Columbia, SC – Today, Governor Mark Sanford proclaimed May as Mental Health Month in South Carolina. For more than fifty years, May has been recognized by the National Mental Health Association and in South Carolina as Mental Health Month.
Throughout May, advocates for people with mental illnesses, consumers of services and their families, and mental health professionals strive to create public awareness about the facts and the myths of mental illnesses and to eliminate the stigma surrounding the disease.
Jessica Eddins, the reigning Miss South Carolina, is featured on a radio Public Service Announcement (PSA) airing on stations in the South Carolina News Network. Her message, directed at South Carolina’s young people and their families, is that depression can be treated.
In South Carolina last year, the Department of Mental Health served 33,000 children and adolescents with mental illnesses, with 12,000 of these treated in school-based programs. The Department estimates that another 30,000 children and adolescents with a mental illness went without service. Around the nation, the third leading cause of death for people ages 15-24 is suicide.
The 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 to children and adolescents with serious emotional disturbances.
Further, the Department is committed to implementing the six recommendations of President Bush’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health (included in this packet).
The South Carolina Department of Mental Health operates seventeen community mental health centers, two psychiatric hospitals, and two nursing care homes. Last year, the Department served almost 100,000 citizens.