SC Department of Mental Health News Release

October 5, 2001
For Immediate Release
Contact: John Hutto, Communications Director
(803) 898-8584


Statewide Activities Celebrate Mental Illness Awareness Week

National Depression Screening Day is October 11

COLUMBIA, SC: The South Carolina Department of Mental Health joins the national mental health community in celebrating the 2001 Mental Illness Awareness Week, October 7-13.

Sponsored by the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI), this year's theme is "United by Hope, Working for Change." A key message during the week's events will be recovery, the fact that people with mental illnesses can lead productive, successful lives.

Some activities among SCDMH's centers and facilities include:

- a bowling event in the upstate called "Strike Out Stigma," aiming to break down the stigma associated with mental illnesses

- a Columbia cookout with USC football players who serve as mentors to Midlands children living with mental disorders

- a statewide tele-training on the inclusion of family members in the treatment plan for people with mental illnesses

- an Orangeburg workshop designed to help people with mental illnesses, as well as their families, work toward recovery

- several locations offering depression screenings as part of National Depression Screening Day (October 11)

- presentations to journalism classes at College of Charleston and Winthrop on dealing with mental health issues responsibly in the media

- inserts distributed to faith congregations encouraging them to support those with mental illnesses in their places of worship

- a mental health community awareness walk in Anderson, featuring Miss South Carolina Jeanna Raney

Other organizations like NAMI and NMHA (the National Mental Health Association) also have events scheduled. Call these organizations or your local SCDMH mental health facility for information on local activities. News media are invited to cover any of these events.

National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) is a nonprofit, grassroots, self-help, support and advocacy organization of consumers, families, and friends of people with severe mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, major depression, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and anxiety disorders. The South Carolina chapter is at (803) 733-9592.

The South Carolina Department of Mental Health has been serving the mental health needs of South Carolinians since 1821. Its 5,700 employees and 7,800 volunteers offer services from 17 community mental health centers and seven inpatient facilities statewide. (800) 763-1024


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


Team Gamecock cookout with football player mentors in Columbia

Awareness Walk for SCDMH employees in Columbia

NAMI (National Alliance for the Mentally Ill) Candlelight Vigil in Sumter

10/8 and 10/9:
Media awareness presentations to journalism classes at Winthrop

Lexington mental health legislative delegation dinner and meeting

National Depression Screening Day; screenings held statewide

Radio broadcast on WSPA-AM in Spartanburg, on mental health issues

Fall Bazaar/Health Fair in Lexington

MHA (Mental Health Association) Health Fair in Hopkins

SCDMH Presentation to NAMI in Beaufort on awareness issues

Health Fair in Chesterfield

Health Screenings in Holly Hill

Health Fair in Aiken, featuring Miss South Carolina Jeanna Raney

"Strike Out Stigma" bowling event, Rock Hill

10/26 and 10/27:
NAMI Family Conference at Myrtle Beach

Mental Health Awareness Walk in Anderson featuring Miss South Carolina Jeanna Raney


- At any moment, 21 percent of all hospital beds are filled by people with a mental illness.

- Federal estimates indicate that about 12% of South Carolina children ages nine or older have a serious emotional disturbance.

- One in 33 children may have clinical depression. Up to 66% of these young people are not seeking any help for their condition.

- In South Carolina, one in five people, or about 800,000 people, have some type of mental illness. About 5.5 percent of the SC adult population has a serious mental illness.

- More than 12,000 South Carolinians are hospitalized each year for Schizophrenia or Major Depression.

- Schizophrenia affects approximately one in 100 people.

- As many as one in six people will become seriously suicidal at some point in their life.

- About one in 20 South Carolinians now suffer from a depressive disorder, and women are twice as likely as men to suffer from depression.

- Treatment for mental illnesses is effective - 85 percent of patients have a very good response to current medication and therapy programs.

- Nearly half of the South Carolinians living with a mental disorder are not seeking treatment for their condition.

- The South Carolina Department of Mental Health operates 17 community mental health centers and seven inpatient facilities (five psychiatric facilities and two nursing care centers) statewide. Including satellite offices and programs, there is an SCDMH presence in every South Carolina county.

- In 2000, the South Carolina Department of Mental Health treated about 96,000 people, with 90% of these people receiving care in an outpatient setting.

- December 20, 2001 will mark the 180th anniversary of the enactment of the statute funding South Carolina's first public mental health hospital.

- South Carolina was the second state in the union to provide care at the state level for citizens with mental disorders.

- The South Carolina Department of Mental Health has opened a website to help young people with mental health issues. The SCDMH central website is

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