May is Mental Health Month

SCDMH Marks Mental Health Month Amidst Covid-19 Pandemic

May is Mental Health Month. This year, the South Carolina Department of Mental Health wants to remind our state of the services available to all, particularly in light of Covid-19.

“These last weeks have taught Americans numerous lessons and reminded us of many important things,” said SCDMH State Director Kenneth Rogers, MD. “One of the most important is that each of us must be as vigilant about our mental health as we are our physical health – they go hand in hand. Though these are difficult and uncertain times, we in the Mental Health field are heartened that folks are seeking resources to cope and maintain their mental health, and want to remind our community that doing so is important not only in difficult times like these but always.”

The Agency has remained open throughout the crisis and its community mental health centers continue to accept new patients. Center operations have changed to ensure the safety of staff and those served, including providing services to patients via secure phone and video calls (depending on patients’ technological capabilities). However, mental health centers are continuing in-person visits for emergency care and scheduled injections, with screening measures for patients and staff.

Locally, Lexington County Community Mental Health Center provides mental health services throughout Lexington County with five locations in Lexington, Batesburg-Leesville, and Swansea. Executive Director Sarah Main states, “All of Lexington County Mental Health’s clinics are open and continuing to serve patients as well as accepting new patients. We are utilizing telehealth and phone consults to assure safety for both patients and staff and doing on-site health screenings and temperature checks before allowing anyone to enter the buildings.” Inside the clinics, the center has set up video conferencing to allow staff and patients to meet while in separate rooms. “Any county resident who needs help” Main continues, “can contact us and feel confident that we are taking the necessary precautions to keep them safe.”

“May is Mental Health Month, but SCDMH is here for South Carolinians year-round,” Dr. Rogers continued. “We offer a robust system of outpatient services for adults, children, and families, inpatient services for those in need of acute care, and 24/7/365 statewide Community Crisis Response and Intervention for people in psychiatric crisis. If you need help, please reach out.”

Each May, the SCDMH, mental health advocacy groups, churches, schools, and civic organizations strive to raise awareness about the importance of Mental Health, challenge South Carolinians to consider their views toward mental illness, respect those who live with these medical disorders, and fight the stigma that too often prevents people in need from seeking help. SC Governor Henry McMaster has issued a proclamation declaring May as Mental Health Month.

To find the SCDMH mental health center closest to you, visit www.scdmh.net and click “find help”. If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, call 1 (833) 364-CCRI (2274) to reach your local Community Crisis Response and Intervention Team. For coping resources, tools, and information, visit www.scdmh.net.

“We will make it through this, together,” said Dr. Rogers. “Feeling anxious, scared, or overwhelmed right now is NORMAL. But there are steps we can take to address these feelings. If you need us, we’re here to help you do that.”

 

The South Carolina Department of Mental Health’s mission is to support the recovery of people with mental illnesses, giving priority to adults with serious and persistent mental illness and children and adolescents with serious emotional disturbances. The Agency serves approximately 100,000 people each year, approximately 30,000 of whom are children and adolescents. As South Carolina’s public mental health system, it provides outpatient mental health services through a network of 16 community mental health centers and associated clinics, serving all 46 counties, and psychiatric hospital services via three State hospitals, including one for substance use treatment. In addition to mental health services, the Agency provides long-term care services in one community nursing care center and three State veterans’ nursing homes.