SC Department of Mental Health News Release

For Immediate Release
September 05, 2002
Contact: John Hutto, Director of Communications
(803) 898-8584

SCDMH To Honor Children of September 11
Agency Remembers Children and Their Needs

Columbia, SC: To honor the estimated 1,500 children who lost one or both parents in the attacks of last September 11, the South Carolina Department of Mental Health will hold a ceremony next Wednesday for Midlands employees, beginning at 8:30 a.m.

At 8:46 a.m. the bells in the Chapel of Hope, the church facility on the grounds of downtown's historic State Hospital, will toll for one minute. Then attendees will observe a minute of silence or prayer for reflection. The service, led by SCDMH Chaplain Ron Taylor, will include an In Remembrance recitation, and the singing of "America the Beautiful" and "My Country 'Tis of Thee." Miss SC 2001 Jeanna Raney, whose platform focused on depression and mental illnesses, will also speak to the group. Attendees will also get small patriotic ribbons to wear.

Children's mental health and family preservation are cornerstones of SCDMH's care. Children and their families are a priority to the agency. The Department has mental health counselors in one-third of South Carolina's middle and high schools - the largest such school-based program in the country. Last year more than 12,000 students were served by DMH school counselors.

Shortly after the September 11 attacks, the South Carolina Department of Mental Health offered 245 mental health counselors to help in New York, but they were not called up to serve. In addition, SCDMH staff joined WLTX in Columbia to offer a phone bank so viewers could call in and talk with mental health professionals about their anxiety and fear. The live call-in program generated more calls than any other, according to WLTX.

South Carolinians are encouraged to contact their local mental health center for information or help with either trauma issues or children's services. Call (800) 763-1024 to get in touch with local centers.

The media are invited to cover next Wednesday's 8:30 a.m. ceremony.

The South Carolina Department of Mental Health has been serving the mental health needs of South Carolinians since 1821. Its 5,300 employees and 9,050 volunteers offer services from 17 community mental health centers and seven inpatient facilities statewide. (800) 763-1024.Website: www.mentalhealth-recovery.com  Teen website is at www.teen-matters.com

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