SC Department of Mental Health News Release


September 30, 2005
For Immediate Release
Contact: John Hutto

Office of Public and Legislative Affairs
(803) 898-8581

Mental Illness Awareness Week
National Depression Screening Day

Columbia , SC – Mental Illness Awareness Week will be observed across the nation October 2-8, 2005 .  Selected mental health centers and private hospitals throughout South Carolina will offer free depression screening to the public October 6.

One in 20 Americans will experience depression at some point during their lives.  The good news is that appropriate treatment can help over 80 percent of those who suffer from this illness, but the bad news is that less than one-third seeks help, usually because of the stigma attached to mental illness. The depression screening program is an attempt to educate the public about the signs and symptoms of this illness, which is one of the more common – and most treatable - psychiatric disorders.

Each year, the U.S. Congress marks the first week of October as Mental Illness Awareness Week.  Established by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Mental Illness Awareness Week seeks to draw attention to mental illness and the many individuals and families it affects.  During this week, psychiatrists and other mental health professionals, people with mental illness and advocates throughout the nation will offer public information and education programs on mental illness.

It is estimated that each year nearly 50 million Americans will experience a mental disorder.  In South Carolina , it is believed that as many as 800,000 people – one in five – have a diagnosable mental illness.

For further information about National Depression Screening Day or to find the screening site nearest you, call your local mental health center, or go on-line to  This internet site will enable you to pinpoint locations in South Carolina where you can get a free screening for depression.

If you would like more information about mental illnesses, please call the South Carolina Department of Mental Health at 1(800) 763-1024.  Someone will be happy to help you.

The South Carolina Department of Mental Health provides services through a network of 17 community mental health centers, two hospitals, and two nursing care centers.

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