SC Mental Health State Director to testify before US Senate Special Committee

May 17, 2022

Kenneth Rogers, MD, state director of the South Carolina Department of Mental Health (SCDMH), will testify before the United States Senate Special Committee on Aging at 10:00 am. on Thursday, May 19 on “Mental Health Care for Older Adults.” The hearing, which will examine factors contributing to the Nation’s older adult mental health crisis and opportunities to improve the mental health system for older adults, will be live streamed on the Committee’s website at

The Committee has invited Dr. Rogers to testify on the challenges and opportunities state governments experience when integrating various mental health initiatives across agencies. To that end, Dr. Rogers is expected to detail the increasing need for mental health services among older Americans due to the pandemic and ways to overcome barriers to addressing those needs. He will also highlight South Carolina’s robust dedication of resources to meet the long-term nursing care needs of its veterans.

In addition, Rogers will explain how SCDMH has become a national leader in expanding partnerships between mental health and local law enforcement agencies, helping improve safety and positive outcomes in encounters between these agencies and people experiencing a behavioral health crisis. He will describe to the Special Committee South Carolina’s unique, statewide, integrated public mental health system and provide information about how this system works to meet the treatment needs of South Carolinians across the lifespan.


The SCDMH’s mission is to support the recovery of people with mental illnesses. The Department provides clinical services to approximately 100,000 patients each year, about 30,000 of whom are children. As South Carolina’s public mental health system, SCDMH provides outpatient mental health care through a network of 16 community mental health centers and associated clinics serving all 46 counties and inpatient psychiatric treatment in three state hospitals. In addition to mental health services, SCDMH provides nursing care to eligible veterans through a network of state veterans nursing homes.