SC Department of Mental Health News Release

May 28, 2002
For Immediate Release
Contact: John Hutto, Director of Communications


Department of Mental Health Receives Grant from Department of Public Safety

Columbia, SC - The SC Department of Mental Health (DMH) was awarded $260,985 from the SC Department of Public Safety for a Juvenile Accountability Incentive Block Grant.  The grant award is for three years.

The Department of Mental Health's project, Lexington Partners for Prevention, focuses on five middle schools in Lexington County.  Each of the schools is located in a community with long-standing histories of violence.  DMH will develop a violence prevention initiative in these schools by placing a mental health professional in each school to work with students, parents, school staff and law enforcement on violence prevention.

"The goals of the grant are to develop programs that increase students' ability to participate fully in school, decrease truancy and deter entrance to the juvenile justice system," said Beth Freeman, director of School-Based Services for DMH.  "Another important goal is to support parents and schools in their efforts to assist students in developing healthy functioning."

The schools that have entered into a partnership with Communities in Schools are Pelion, Gilbert, Busbee, Pine Ridge and Sandhills.  Seventy-five students will be served at each location, for a total of 375 students a year.  These schools were targeted based on the 2001 Kids Count Report which showed the rate of school crime incident reports has increased dramatically in Lexington School Districts One and Two.  Lexington One's incident rate has increased 131 percent, and Lexington Two's rate has grown 67 percent.

The South Carolina Department of Mental Health has served the mental health needs of South Carolina citizens since 1821.  Its 5,800 employee and 7,565 volunteers offer services from 17 community mental health centers and seven inpatient hospitals statewide.

Office of Communications
P.O. Box 485 Columbia, SC 29202
(803) 898--8581

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