For Immediate Release
September 20, 2001
For Immediate Release
Contact: John Hutto, Director of Communications
Mental Health Resources Available for South
COLUMBIA, SC: In the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks
in New York City and Washington, DC, many people have expressed an interest in
finding services that are available to address their emotional and psychological
The South Carolina Department of Mental Health (SCDMH) has a statewide
network of community mental health centers staffed with mental health
professionals especially trained in crisis and grief counseling. These services
are available for both adults and children. Services are also available for
people who are deaf or hard of hearing. For the South Carolina Department of
Mental Health telephone number in your community, please see the list below.
In addition, there are many excellent web sites offering information on how
to cope with your feelings. Some sites even provide you with fact sheets on
managing depression, dealing with anxiety, and understanding post traumatic
stress issues. Please see the following list for these web sites.
If you need any further information on services that are available, you may
also call the South Carolina Department of Mental Health at 1-800-763-1024.
Included at the end of this news release is counseling information prepared
by the SCDMH's Division of Children, Adolescents & Their Families. Its
purpose is to help parents help their children cope with disaster. Please use it
South Carolina Department of Mental Health
Community Mental Health Centers
Aiken-Barnwell Mental Health Center
Phone (8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.): 803-641-7700
After Hours: 803-648-9900
Anderson-Oconee-Pickens Mental Health Center
Phone (24 hours a day): 864-260-2220
Beckman Center for Mental Health Services
Phone (8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.): 864-229-7120
After Hours: 800-868-2642
Berkeley Community Mental Health Center
Moncks Corner, SC
Phone (24 hours a day): 843-761-8282
Catawba Mental Health Center
Rock Hill, SC
Phone (24 hours a day): 800-252-2168
Charleston/Dorchester Community Mental Health Center
Phone (8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.): 843-727-2000
After Hours: 843-727-2118
Coastal Empire Mental Health Center
Phone (8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.): 843-524-8899
After Hours: 800-922-7844
Columbia Area Mental Health Center
Phone (24 hours a day): 803-898-8888
Greenville Mental Health Center
Phone (8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.): 864-241-1040
After Hours: 864-467-5959
Lexington County Community Mental Health Center
Phone (24 hours a day): 803-739-8600
Orangeburg Area Mental Health Center
Phone (24 hours a day): 803-536-1571
Pee Dee Mental Health Center
Phone (24 hours a day): 843-317-4073
Piedmont Center for Mental Health Services
Phone (8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.) 864-963-3421
After Hours: 864-271-8888
Santee-Wateree Community Mental Health Center
Phone (24 hours a day): 803-775-9364
Spartanburg Area Mental Health Center
Phone (24 hours a day): 864-585-0366
Tri-County Mental Health Center
Phone (8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.) 843-454-0841
After Hours: 800-334-9847
Waccamaw Center for Mental Health
Phone (24 hours): 843-347-4888
National Disaster Resources On the Web
South Carolina Department of Mental
Medical University of South Carolina's National Crime Victims research and
FEMA's Bereavement Site
American Academy of Child & adolescent Psychiatry
American Psychiatric Association
American Psychological Association
CNN News Story: Discussing a National Crisis
National Organization for Victims Assistance
National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Dealing with the Emotional Consequences in the Aftermath of Terrorism
National Institute of Mental Health
National Alliance for the Mentally Ill
Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration Crisis Counseling
Educators for Social Responsibility (good for children and disaster)
U.S. Department of Education
Of General Interest Relating to Disaster and Trauma
Helping Families Help Their Children
Cope After A Disaster
Information from Beth V. Freeman, LISW, LMSW, Program Director: School-Based
SC DMH: Division of Children, Adolescents & Their Families
Behaviors children may exhibit after a disaster:
- Opposites in respect to their normal behaviors: quiet/obedient/caring to
loud/noisy/ aggressive or outgoing to shy/afraid.
- Develop nighttime fears - nightmares or bad dreams.
- Fear the event will reoccur or occur in their community.
- Becomes easily upset, crying and whining, irritable and moody, anxious and
- Lose trust in adults to protect them.
- Revert to younger behaviors such as bed wetting, thumb sucking and clingy.
- Not want parents out of their sight and refuse to go to school or
- Have symptoms of illness, such as headaches, vomiting or fever.
- Worry about where they and their family will live.
What to do:
- Talk with the children about how they are feeling and listen without
judgment. Give child 10 to 15 minutes of individual time with parent several
times a week to talk about what they are feeling.
- Let the children take their time to figure things out. Don't rush them.
- Help child learn to use words that express their feelings, such as happy,
sad, angry or mad.
- Assure children that you will be there to take care of them. Reassure them
- Help child learn to trust again by keeping promises and reassuring them of
your family's plans to remain safe and connected to each other. Help child
know how to contact you in various areas: home, work, activities,
neighbors/friends that can help, etc.
- If you will be away for a time, tell child where you are going and plan a
time to call.
- Limit child's exposure to news reports so that they won't become anxious
and over fearful.
- Give child only information that they request and are curious about. Give
facts with limited details. Try not to over inform child on events.
- Stay together as a family as much as possible.
- Let them have some control, such as choosing what outfit to wear or what
meal to have for dinner.
- Help children regain faith in the future by helping them develop plans for
activities that will take place later - next week, next month.
- Allow the children to grieve losses.
Activities for children/youth to ease anxiety after disaster:
- Encourage the children to give or send pictures they have drawn or things
they have written.
- Encourage child to talk or write other family members and people they care
- Encourage child to draw pictures about how they feel and their
- Write a story about the event - what happened, feelings, and what they
would do to solve the problems.
- Playing with clay to release tension and creation of models of event.
- For teens/youth: researching issues that they are concerned about: history
of terrorism, what countries do to protect citizens from outside dangers,
- Participate in community events for coming together as a united group for
prayer and mourning, tasks to help those that are hurting, making our
community safe, etc.
- Music - creating songs about the event, listening to comforting music,
creating activities with musical rhythm toys to relieve stress and tension.
- Creating poems to show their feelings and wishes for those hurting.
- Drama - creating plays and role playing the event, how they could "be
in charge" of helping themselves and others recover from the disaster.
Things to remember as you listen to your children:
- Children need reassurance and help from adults in order to regain a sense
of stability, security and predictability in the world.
- Anger toward terrorists for harm done is natural. Parents needs to help
child redirect their anger in ways that will not harm others.
- Persistent symptoms of anxiety, fears and sadness need to be addressed
through a comprehensive assessment by a professional counselor.
- Goal of recovery: to completely experience and express feelings to avoid
long-term complications, to return to routines as soon as possible and deal
with grief in small amounts each day/week, to understand the events in order
to create a sense of stability in the world around us and create unity.
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