A star for lending a hand!

Handshake on Volunteer Manual




Updated 9-16-13


Table of Contents


S.C. Department of Mental Health Mission Statement
Community Resource Development Program/Opportunities
Information for Volunteers

Types of  Volunteers

Basic Qualifications  







Tax Tips
Bill of Rights
Code of Responsibility
As You Begin
Directory of Facilities and Service

S.C. Department of Mental Health
Mission Statement

To support the recovery of people with mental illnesses.


The S.C. Department of Mental Health gives priority to adults, children, and their families affected by serious mental illnesses and significant emotional disorders.  We are committed to eliminating stigma and promoting the philosophy of recovery, to achieving our goals in collaboration with all stakeholders, and to assuring the highest quality of culturally competent services possible.

Respect for the Individual

Each person who receives our services will be treated with respect and dignity, and will be a partner in achieving recovery.  We commit ourselves to services that: 

  • honor the rights, wishes and needs of each individual;
  • promote each individual's quality of life;
  • focus on each individual's strengths in the context of his or her own culture;
  • foster independence and recovery;
  • demonstrate the value of family inclusion and the benefits of strong family support.

Support for Local Care

We believe that people are best served in or near their own homes or the community of their choice. We  commit to the availability of a full and flexible array of coordinated services in every community across the state, and to services that are provided in a healthy environment.  We believe in services that build upon critical local supports:  family, friends, faith communities, healthcare providers, and other community services that offer employment, learning, leisure pursuits, and other human or clinical supports.

Commitment to Quality

We will be an agency worthy of the highest level of public trust.  We will provide treatment environments that are safe and therapeutic, and work environments which inspire and promote innovation and creativity.  We will hire, train, support and retain staff who are culturally and linguistically competent, who are committed to the recovery philosophy, and who value continuous learning and research.  We will provide services efficiently and effectively, and will strive always to provide interventions that are scientifically proven to support recovery.

Dedication to improved public awareness and knowledge

We believe that people with mental illnesses, trauma victims, and others who experience severe emotional distress, are often the object of misunderstanding and stigmatizing attitudes.  Therefore we will build formal partnerships with the state's educational leadership and institutions, including both K-12 and institutions of higher learning, to enhance curriculum content on mental health.  We will work with employers, sister agencies, and public media to combat prejudice born of ignorance about mental illnesses.  And we will expect our own staff to be leaders in the anti-stigma campaign.

S.C. Department of Mental Health

In 1812 South Carolina became the second state in the nation to establish a state-supported hospital for the mentally ill.  From its first patient in 1828 to the middle of this century, South Carolina's mental health system looked to its two state hospitals, S.C. State Hospital and Crafts-Farrow State Hospital, to provide care and treatment for people affected by mental illness.

By the later 1950s and early 1960s, the population at these two facilities had grown to 6,000.  Mental illness had come to mean institutional care, often for the rest of one's life.

In the 1960s, two significant developments revolutionized the treatment of mental illness and offered help to thousands.  Medications were discovered that controlled the symptoms of many major illnesses, opening the possibility that people with a mental illness could improve and return to their communities.

Along with this, the community mental health movement began.  This movement resulted in a nationwide network of centers to treat people who returned from hospitals and to provide education and early intervention to prevent and reduce the effects of mental illness.

The Division of Community Mental Health Services has grown into a comprehensive, statewide system that is now the centerpiece of South Carolina's mental health system.

Community mental health centers are the entry point into South Carolina's system.  The state is divided into 17 geographical areas called catchment or service areas.  Each area has a comprehensive mental health center.  (See Directory of Centers and Services)

The centers provide a full range of services that usually include: emergency and screening; day treatment; consultation; education and prevention; inpatient services; child and adolescent services; elderly services; outpatient services; alcohol and drug abuse services; community support programs; intensive case management; supported employment programs; living skills programs and various outreach programs.

When center resources cannot meet a patient's needs, they refer patients to one of the department's inpatient facilities.  (See Directory of Facilities and Services.)

Community Resources Development

The Department of Mental Health encourages volunteer involvement and the development of community resources to enhance the state's mental health care programs and to build closer ties with the community.

Volunteers have traditionally been an integral part of programs.  They enhance care and help to build closer ties between the community and the mental health system.  In addition to providing extra "hands" and support to patients and their families, volunteers help dispel the stigma and misconceptions often surrounding mental illness.

Individual volunteers and groups are needed.  People of all ages are encouraged to become involved in a variety of challenging and rewarding activities.

A sample of opportunities is listed below.


Tutors and Readers  Library Assistants
Adopt-a-lodge program Reception and Clerical
Pianists  Activity Aides
Horticulture Assistant Visitors
Entertainers Party Hosts
Clothing Store Managers Escorts
Puppeteers       Pet Therapy Program
Meal Time Aides   Drivers
Community Resource Leader    Cooking Instructors
Sewing Instructors  


To identify and fully engage the unique resources of a catchment area, Community Resource Developers in hospitals and centers network with advocacy group, religious, civic, and fraternal organizations and businesses.  They also coordinate fund raising and corporate giving programs with the goal of maximizing community support for special patient needs and projects.


Information for Volunteers


1.  Types of Volunteers:
Regular-service Volunteer- any person or group engaged in specific voluntary service activities on an ongoing or continuous basis.
Occasional-service Volunteer- any person or group providing a  one-time or occasional voluntary service. 
Donor- any person or group providing funds and/or materials.

2. Basic Qualifications:
* A sincere interest in rendering service to the mentally ill
* A willingness to accept the regulations and standards of the S.C. Department of Mental Health
* A sense of responsibility and dependability 
* Stability
* The ability to  work as part of a team
* Personality traits such as tact, patience, tolerance, understanding and congeniality
* A respect for confidentiality

3. Screening:
All potential volunteers are initially interviewed and screened by the Community Resource Developer.  The purpose of the screening is to determine the suitability of the applicant for volunteer work, to acquaint him/her with the opportunities available and to tentatively match skills and interest to jobs which best meet the needs of the facility or center and the volunteer.
The potential volunteer will also be screened by staff in the area to which they may be assigned.  Should either the volunteer or staff member feel the volunteer's service may be better utilized elsewhere, the volunteer will be reassigned.

4. Orientation:
Pre-service orientation is required for all volunteers.  It is designed to give the volunteer an overview of the Department  of Mental Health and the facility/center in which they will be working.  It also includes information concerning volunteer obligations and expectations.

5. Training:
Job training is more narrowly defined than is orientation and gives the volunteer performing a specific assignment the skills and information for carrying out the assignment.  Training is usually provided by the staff in the area of assignment.  Whether job training is simple or complex, formal or informal, will depend upon the complexity of the job, the number of people performing it and the degree of supervision involved.

6. Supervision:
Upon completion of training, volunteers are assigned a supervisor and placed in a position as quickly as possible.  The supervisor provides support to the volunteer to make sure the job gets done in the best possible way while helping the volunteer experience personal development and satisfaction.

7.  Recognition: 
The S.C. Department of Mental Health respects and appreciates the contributions of volunteers.  Formal recognition of services includes letters of appreciation, service awards, certificates and an annual recognition ceremony.

8. Benefits:
Meals-- Volunteers whose work assignment requires them to work through a meal time and who work at least four hours, can be provided a meal if food is available at the facility/center.

Insurance-- the following insurance is provided for volunteers:
The Department provides general liability insurance (Tort) and medical malpractice  insurance for all volunteers during the time they are providing services.  Volunteers are also protected by automobile liability insurance when they are operating Department of Mental Health vehicles with permission.  When a volunteer is driving his/ her own auto for Department of Mental Health business and is subject to reimbursement, the Department provides a nominal amount of auto liability insurance which is secondary  to the volunteer's own liability insurance.
The Department does not provide accident insurance.

Reimbursement-- The S.C. Volunteer Act permits the Department of Mental Health to reimburse volunteers for mileage when utilizing their personal vehicles in performance of their duties.  However, volunteers cannot be reimbursed for travel to and from their volunteer job.  If required to travel as part of their assignment, meal and lodging reimbursement are made by the facility center director in advance of the travel.  Proper receipts are necessary.

Continuing Education--  When possible and appropriate, volunteers may sign up for in-service education classes and workshops.  As a volunteer, you may request additional training by talking with your supervisor of Community Resource Developer.

9.Tax Information:
A number of tax benefits are available for volunteers under the general charitable contribution deduction of the Internal Revenue Code.  This is explained by the noting that volunteers can deduct "unreimbursed expenditures  made incident to rendition of services to a qualifying organization."

Translated, this means that a volunteer may deduct out-of -pocket expenses incurred while doing volunteer work.  If you have to use your own vehicle, travel costs are deductible as a charitable donation when you are not reimbursed by the organization.

To determine your allowable deductions, or for additional information, you may request Publication 526, Charitable Contributions, from the Internal Revenue Service.  It is very important to keep accurate records of your volunteer expenses.

All Department of Mental Health hospitals and centers accept and appreciate contributions and donated items.  Most of the donated items are given directly to patients who need them.

According to the Internal Revenue Service, a taxpayer can deduct the "fair market value" of clothing, household goods, used furniture, shoes, books and so forth.  Fair market value is the price a willing buyer would pay for them.




1.   Volunteers should wear Identification Badges at all times while volunteering.  This will identify you as a volunteer to both patient and staff.

2.   The Department of Mental Health is required to keep records on the number of volunteers involved in programs and the number of hours they contribute.  You  can help by making sure your  supervisor receives an accurate accounting of your time.

3.   If you are unable to report for an assignment, please contact your supervisor as far in advance as possible.

4.   Volunteers and paid staff are required to abide by Department of Mental Health directives and regulation, particularly those related to contraband and confidentiality.  Your supervisor or the Community Resource Developer will make these available to you and explain the information.

5.   Volunteers should not discuss with patients their condition, diagnosis or treatment.  Questions of this type should be referred to the patient's case manager or physician.

6.  Volunteers are asked to neither lend nor accept money.  Gifts may be donated through the Community Resource Development office.

7.  Volunteers should be friendly and courteous, but establishing  boundaries is a key to building good working relationships.  We respect privacy and discourage the exchange of phone numbers and addresses.  Exceptions to this have been made for Community Connection volunteers and those with certain other specific job descriptions.

8.   Any injury of accident should be immediately reported to your supervisor.

9.   Questions related to the performance of your duties should be directed to your supervisor.  Volunteers should also feel free to discuss general questions or concerns with the Community Resource Developer.  You will be seeing our programs from a fresh perspective and the Department of Mental Health values your suggestions.

10.  Should you have to resign for any reason, please treat your volunteer job as you would a paid position and notify your supervisor and the Community Resource Developer in advance.


                            A Bill of Rights for Volunteers


Every Volunteer has:

1.   The right to be treated as a  coworker
         ...not just free help
         ...not as a prima donna

2.   The right to a suitable assignment
          .... with consideration for personal preference, temperament, life 
               experience, education and volunteer/employment background

3.   The right to know as much about the organization as possible 
          .... its policies
          .... its people
          .... its programs

4.   The right to  training for the job
          .... Thoughtfully planned
          .... effectively presented

5.   The right to continuing education on the job
          .... as a follow-up to initial training
          .... information about new developments
          .... training about new responsibilities

6.   The right to sound guidance and direction 
          .... by someone who is experienced, well-informed, patient and thoughtful 
          .... who has the time to invest in giving guidance

7.   The right to a place to work
          .... an orderly, designated place
          .... conducive to work
          .... and appropriate to the job

8.   The right to promotions and a variety of experiences
           .... through advancement to assignments with more responsibility
           .... through transfer from one job to another

9.   The right to be heard
            .... to have a part in planning
            .... to feel free to make suggestions
            .... to have respect shown for an honest opinion

10.   The right to recognition
            .... in the form of promotion


                                 Code of Responsibility for Volunteers


Be Sure
Know that you are ready to share time and skills.

Be Convinced
Believe in the value of what you will be doing as a volunteer.

Be Loyal
Offer suggestions, but don't knock.

Accept the Rules
Don't criticize what you don't understand.  There may be a good explanation if you ask.

Speak Up
Ask about things you don't understand.  Don't coddle your doubts and frustrations until they drive you away, or turn you into a problem worker.

Keep on Learning
Know all you can about the agency and your role in it.

Welcome Supervision
you will do a better job and enjoy it more if you are doing what is expected of you.

Be Dependable
Your word is your bond.  Do what you have agreed to do.  Don't make commitments that you cannot keep.

Be a  Team Player
Find a place for yourself on the team.  A lone operator is often out of place in today's complex community.  Working with others is not only motivational-- it expands possibilities.

                         As You Begin...

We realize that volunteer work in the field of mental health may be new to some of you and possibly bewildering.

Please feel free to ask questions, express your concerns and make suggestions.  You are volunteering because you care, and your suggestions can be helpful as we work together.

Volunteering is not just a means of getting things done-- it can be a valuable and enriching experience--

                       Enjoy it !!!


Directory of Facilities  and Services

S.C. Department of Mental Health
(Central Office)

2414 Bull Street P.0. Box 485
Columbia, S.C. 29202
Telephone: (803) 898-8319
G. Werber Bryan Psychiatric Hospital
220 Faison Drive
Columbia, S.C. 29203
Telephone: (803) 935-7146
Veterans' Victory House
2461 Sidneys Road
Walterboro, SC 29488
Phone: (843) 538-3000
Richard Michael Campbell Veterans Nursing Home
4605 Belton Highway
Anderson, S.C. 29621
Telephone: (864) 261-6734
William S. Hall Psychiatric Institute
1800 Colonial Drive (P.O. Box202)
Columbia, S.C.29202
Telephone: (803) 898-1593
Earle E. Morris Jr. Alcohol and Drug Addiction Treatment Center
610 Faison Drive 
Columbia, S.C.29203 
Telephone: (803)935-7100
C.M. Tucker Jr./Nursing Care Center
2200 Harden Street
Columbia, S.C. 29203 
Telephone: (803) 737-5301

Community Mental Health Centers

Aiken-Barnwell Mental Health Center
1135 Gregg Highway
Aiken, S.C. 29801
Telephone: (803) 641-7700
Anderson-Oconee-Pickens Community Mental Health Center
200 McGee Road
Anderson, S.C. 29625
Telephone: (864) 260-2220
Beckman Center for Mental Health Services
1547 Parkway, Suite 100
Greenwood, S.C. 29646-3050
Telephone: (864) 229-7120
Berkeley Community Mental Health Center
P.O. Box 1030
403 Stoney Landing Rd.
Moncks Corner, S.C. 29461
Telephone: (843) 761-8282
or (888) 202-1381
Catawba Community Mental Health Center
448 Lakeshore Parkway, Suite 205
Rock Hill, S.C. 29730
Telephone: (803) 328-9600
Coastal Empire Community Mental Health Center
P.O. Box 1044
1050 Ribaut Road
Beaufort, S.C. 29902-1044
Telephone: (803) 524-8899
Charleston/Dorchester Community Mental Health Center Port City Center
2100 Charlie Hall Boulevard,
Charleston, S.C. 29403
Telephone: (843) 852-4100
Columbia Area Mental Health Center
2715 Colonial Drive, Suite 100
Columbia, S.C. 29240-4440
Telephone: (803) 898-4802
Greenville Mental Health Center
124 Mallard Road.
Greenville, S.C. 29601
Telephone: (864) 241-1040
Lexington County Community Mental Health Center
301 Palmetto Park Blvd.
Lexington, S.C. 29072
Telephone: (803) 996-1500
Orangeburg Area Mental Health Center
2319 St. Matthews Rd.
Orangeburg, S.C. 29116
Telephone: (803) 536-1571
Pee Dee Mental Health Center
125 East Cheves Street
Florence, S.C. 29506
Telephone: (843) 317-4089
Piedmont Center for Mental Health Svcs
20 Powderhorn Rd.
Simpsonville, S.C. 29681
Telephone: (864) 967-8617

Santee-Wateree Community Mental Health Center
2640-A Hardee Cove/P.O. Box 1946
Sumter, S.C. 29150 
Telephone: (803) 775-9364
Spartanburg Area Mental Health Center
250 Dewey Avenue
Spartanburg, S.C. 29303
Telephone: (864) 585-0366

Tri-County Community Mental Health Center
P.O. Box 918, 1035 Cheraw Highway
Bennettsville, S.C. 29512
Telephone: (843) 454-0841
Waccamaw Center for Mental Health
164 Waccamaw Medical Park
Conway, S.C.29526
Telephone: (803) 347-5060

For more information go to Centers and Hospitals/Program Services or www.scdmh.org.

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