GREENVILLE, SC (January 26, 2017) – The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) announced this week that it has approved Greenville Health System’s Certificate of Need (CON) application for 19 additional psychiatric beds. The beds will be part of an existing psychiatric unit within GHS’ Marshall I. Pickens Hospital, an inpatient behavioral health facility that provides diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric disorders in children, adolescents, adults and geriatrics.
“We appreciate DHEC’s support of our CON application and ongoing efforts to enhance and expand high quality mental health services in the Upstate,” said Dr. Ken Rogers, medical director of behavioral health services and chair of the department of psychiatry at GHS. “By adding these beds and increasing access to mental health services, we can reduce the need for costly emergency room visits and better address co-occurring conditions that often accompany behavioral health needs, such as compliance with care plans, sedentary lifestyles, smoking and other dependencies.”
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), one in four adults experiences mental illness in a given year, and one in 17 live with a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia, major depression or bipolar disorder. In South Carolina, nearly 170,000 adults and 48,000 children live with a serious mental illness.
“Mental illness is a major public health issue, and our state ranks 43rd in the nation when it comes to access to the important services that can help our citizens live their best lives,” said Ken Dority, executive director of NAMI Greenville. “We applaud DHEC for recognizing the need for more mental health services in our area and approving beds for not only GHS but for Carolina Center for Behavioral Health and SpringBrook Behavioral Health System as well.”
“The impact of mental health on our society is enormous, and it will take a number of stakeholders to address the needs of our community,” added Dr. Rogers. “It is our hope that we can all work together to make these resources available to our community as quickly as possible.”
Additional inpatient beds are an important element of GHS’ plan to enhance and expand mental health services in the Upstate. Other elements include a psychiatry medical education program; partnerships to expand crisis, ambulatory and acute care mental health services and facilities; and community education and engagement programs.
One example of a community education and engagement program is the second annual Southeastern Symposium on Mental Health scheduled for May 12 and 13 at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Greenville. The event, which is sponsored by GHS, NAMI Greenville, FAVOR Greenville, Clemson University, University of South Carolina, Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina and Carolina Center for Behavioral Health, focuses on ending the stigma associated with mental illness through research, education and practice. More than 350 clinicians, researchers, advocates and community members from across the Southeast attended last year’s symposium, and organizers expect an even greater turn-out this year.
“We’re proud to be a part of the symposium and other collaborations that focus on enhancing the quality of behavioral health services, increasing access to these services and removing the societal stigma often associated with mental health,” said Dr. Rogers.