October 6, 2004
Department of Mental Health to Invest in
Columbia, SC At the September meeting of the S.C. Mental Health Commission, the Department of Mental Health detailed its plans to invest about $5.3 million to serve people with mental illnesses and people with addictions disorders. This initiative will help get mentally ill people out of local emergency rooms and into care closer to home.
Of the total amount, the Department will spend $2 million to open more than seventy beds in its psychiatric hospitals in Anderson and Columbia as well as in the community. The remaining funds will be used by community mental health centers and other stakeholders to develop crisis stabilization and co-occurring programs (mental illness and addictions disorder) over the next ten months.
The funds were awarded to the community through a proposal process that considered such criteria as collaboration; numbers of patients going to emergency rooms; numbers of patients waiting to be admitted to a SCDMH hospital; potential for regionalization; past history of success in running crisis programs; and the capability to serve patients with a co-occurring disorder. The criteria also stipulated that preference would be given to programs considered evidence-based.
The mental health centers receiving the funds include the following:
Said Department of Mental Health Director George P. Gintoli, We believe that we must continue to develop community crisis stabilization and co-occurring disorders programs to reduce the demand on hospital emergency rooms and our own hospitals. A continuous focus on coalition building with local alcohol and drug commissions, local hospitals, sheriff departments, and probate judges is essential in this process.
The South Carolina Department of Mental Health (SCDMH) is an integrated system of care offering an array of programs and services to meet the behavioral health needs of adults, children and adolescents, and their families. The SCDMH operates seventeen community mental health centers around the state as well as two psychiatric hospitals and two nursing homes.