STATE: Department of Mental Health to Provide Crisis Intervention in Beaufort & Horry Counties
Columbia – The South Carolina Department of Mental Health (SCDMH), in partnership with the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Department, Myrtle Beach Police Department, and Horry County Police Department, will launch its Community Crisis Response and Intervention (CCRI) Program in Beaufort and Horry counties August 1.
CCRI will provide on-site emergency psychiatric screening and assessment to individuals experiencing mental health emergencies within 60 minutes of contact with the CCRI team. The service will be available 24 hours per day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, and can be reached, toll-free, at (833) DMH-CCRI (364-2274).
The Team will work with local police departments and members of the community throughout Beaufort, Myrtle Beach, and the unincorporated areas of Horry County, with plans to expand first to the entire county, later to Georgetown and Williamsburg counties, with eventual statewide coverage.
“We are excited to begin providing services in Beaufort and Horry,” said CCRI Director Amanda Gilchrist. “Our goal is to quickly link people in crisis to appropriate levels of care and divert them from unnecessary hospitalizations and incarcerations.”
CCRI, a program of the SCDMH Division of Community Mental Health Services, began providing services in May in Berkeley County. The Program was initiated to address emergent psychiatric crises in the community by means of assessment and referral. It provides clinical screenings to both adults and children in one of several ways: in person at the location of crisis, in person at a community mental health center, or by phone. In addition to accompanying Team members to on-site screenings, Law Enforcement will access the CCRI for consultation or request a clinician dispatch to a scene as needed, allowing for a more efficient use of resources as well as a “warm hand-off” for individuals in need of evaluations.
“The goal of SCDMH for CCRI to eventually be able to provide 24/7 crisis intervention services to those in psychiatric crisis across the entire state,” said SCDMH Deputy Director of Community Mental Health Services Deborah Blalock.
In addition to assessing individuals in crisis, CCRI clinicians will educate individuals on available community resources, coordinate appropriate transfers and referrals, match patients to the most appropriate care, and serve as liaisons to the local SCDMH mental health center. The Team will accept referrals from any community partner or individual reporting a psychiatric crisis.
“The Myrtle Beach Police Department team is looking forward to this partnership and the assistance during these stressful situations that impact members of our community,” said Chief Amy Prock with Myrtle Beach Police Department. “We hope to continue to grow this program throughout the Grand Strand to benefit the needs of our community and visitors.”
Beaufort County Sheriff P.J. Tanner added, “The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office looks forward to working side by side with the South Carolina Department of Mental Health in this important initiative to help better understand and address issues of mental health in our community”
(more)“I cannot stress enough how supportive our partners are in this endeavor,” said CCRI Region D Supervisor Stacy Keller. “Partnerships with local law enforcement, hospitals, judges, community partners, and our local SCDMH mental health centers are absolutely integral to providing this service to our community.”
Keller added that clinicians interested in working for the Horry CCRI may apply by calling (843) 412-5416 or visiting jobs.sc.gov.
“We are seeking master’s-level clinicians in Mental Health fields with at least two years of post-graduate experience and/or first responder experience to expand the Program,” she said.
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 to children and adolescents with serious emotional disturbances. The Agency serves approximately 100,000 citizens with mental illnesses, approximately 30,000 of whom are children and adolescents, and provides outpatient services through a network of seventeen community mental health centers and numerous clinics. It also operates multiple inpatient hospitals, including one for substance use treatment, one community nursing care center, and three veterans’ nursing homes.