The South Carolina Department of Mental Health (SCDMH) continues to receive national recognition for creative programs, initiatives and collaborations implemented to further its mission to providing quality care to the mentally ill in South Carolina despite difficult budget times.
On October 27, 2011, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) awarded SCDMH and the Department of Neuropsychiatry and Behavioral Science of the University of South Carolina, School of Medicine the Psychiatric Services Achievement Award, Silver Medal, for its Telepsychiatry program. John H. Magill, SCDMH State Director, was recognized for his work as originator of the program in South Carolina and Meera Narasimhan, M.D. was recognized for her work as its evaluator. The Psychiatric Services Award Silver Medal is the second highest achievement award granted by the APA.
SCDMH’s Telepsychiatry program was previously spotlighted in Mental Health Weekly (MHW), a national behavioral health newsletter. A May 24, 2010 article touted the video communications network for allowing “patients in remote emergency departments around the state to have access to psychiatric services, and in the process, improve patient outcomes and reduce costs in hospital stays.”
The publication has also featured several other SCDMH programs and collaborations:
- Deaf Services Program (October, 2009). The Program, which provides mental health services to the deaf and hard of hearing, has expanded in recent years to include services for children, videophones for clients, peer support and training. The article praised SCDMH’s program as being “at [the] forefront of addressing needs for this underserved group.”
- SCDMH’s Interagency effort with the Lexington/Richland Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission, Richland Springs Psychiatric Hospital, and the University of South Carolina School of Medicine, at Palmetto Health Richland (August 30, 2010). The publication noted that the close relationship among the groups made a solution for emergency room overcrowding “close at hand.” “The issue was not characterized as simply the hospital’s problem to solve on its own, and the willingness of multiple partners to improve the situation led to formation of a strategy that many consider a model for interagency collaboration.”
- Charleston Dorchester Mental Health Center’s Highway to Hope mobile crisis RV (April 2011). The mobile clinic, launched in November of 2010, serves individuals who would otherwise end up in hospital emergency departments or not receive services at all. “The Charleston Dorchester Mental Health Center’s mobile clinic serves multiple purposes in reaching the underserved, reducing stigma and saving money,” said MHW.
The Highway to Hope RV, along with another innovative initiative of the Charleston Dorchester Mental Health Center, the Psychiatric Urgent Care Clinic (PUC), was featured in a recent issue of Promising Practices: Innovation in Human Services, a newsletter of the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF), an independent, international nonprofit accreditor of human service providers. Each of the SCDMH’s 17 community mental health centers is accredited by CARF.
As is evident by the coverage in such widely read behavioral health publications, despite limited resources, SCDMH continues develop resourceful solutions to address the challenge of providing quality mental health services to South Carolinians with diverse needs.