Celebrating Success: Mental Health Treatment
Mental Health clinic provides awareness
Part of a seven-county region, the Laurens County Mental Health Clinic is in direct contact with nearly 700 people who need services to maintain healthy lives.
The clinic observed Mental Health Awareness Month on Monday with a drop-in at its Professional Park location, one of the celebrations scheduled throughout the Beckman Center region during May. The drop-ins at clinics throughout the region are designed to give local community members and leaders a look at the physical locations where services are provided.
The Laurens Clinic is in the medical-services complex behind the hospital, on Hwy 76 between Clinton and Laurens.
Many more people are reached through the Greenwood-based Beckman Center’s partnerships with school districts throughout the region. The Laurens Clinic and Beckman Center are funded through some of the regions’ counties and the State of South Carolina Department of Mental Health, one of the oldest government agencies of its type in the nation.
Laurens Clinic Director Heidi Hoogstraal also updated the Beckman Board on the local clinic’s activities Monday evening during a meeting in Greenwood. At the local clinic Monday morning, client Patricia King talked to people who stopped by about her artwork, which has been exhibited through the Art of Recovery statewide program. Artists who are affiliated with mental health clinics throughout the state have their work exhibited annually as part of Piccolo Spoleto in Charleston.
A Laurens resident, King has been painting for about two years. She said the activity is an important part of her therapy and a complement to the services she receives through the Laurens Mental Health Clinic.
Hoogstraal said the Laurens Clinic and the Emergency Department of Laurens County Memorial Hospital are working with the EPIC program through the University of South Carolina and Emory University. This four-year study charts access to appropriate mental health services. She said Care Navigators are working with clients to break down the barriers that prevent access to appointments, and this program received its first patient Nov. 17 last year and has provided six referrals.
She said for the past three months, the Laurens Clinic set 166 hours of services to clients as its benchmark, and delivered 156 hours of service. In the past three years, the Laurens Clinic’s school-based network of eight counselors has seen an increase in services provided, the Beckman Center Board was told.
Beckman Center Executive Director Melanie Gambrell said these school-based positions are especially challenging to fill with qualified applicants. On Monday, the center filled a school-based position at Calhoun Falls that had been vacant since May, 2017.
These master’s degree-level positions in schools and clinics throughout the state qualify for some student loan forgiveness (based on SC’s position as a rural state) through the National Health Service Corp. The state will need more than 200 people to fill these positions in the coming years, the Beckman Center Board was told.
Gambrell also reported on a grant proposal she has written. The $400,000 grant will fund a study of intervention with high-risk for psychosis clients in the age 10 to 25 range. The project would develop strategies for out-reach to these young people, and provide training in observing the warning signs of young-age psychosis. It partners mental health professionals with the Federation of Families in addressing this issue; Gambrell said grant proposal submittal goal is May 25.