7 February 2013

Dozens push for more mental health funding

Mental health budget in South Carolina slashed 40% in last three years

Link to Original Video: WYFF4.com

GREENVILLE, S.C. —Dozens gathered at the Mental Health Center in Greenville Thursday night with one goal in mind: finding resources for the mentally ill.

The mental health budget in South Carolina has been cut 40% in the last three years, something advocates say is unacceptable.

Every year the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) gives states grades based on how well they’re dealing with mental illness.  In 2011, South Carolina received an “F.”

Department of Mental Health State Director John Magill has been traveling from county to county, outlining the state’s biggest challenges when it comes to serving those with mental illness.  And it all comes down to funding.

“We’ve got to figure out a way to put more resources, build more partnerships with organizations in the community and have a bigger presence in the schools,” said Magill.

Those at Thursday’s forum said lawmakers have been receptive to their push.  Shortly after the Newtown Connecticut shooting, Governor Nikki Haley made this statement.

“You know what, we’ve put mental health off long enough, when I saw it when we came in it was bare bone and it is because there is always next year. And that’s what everybody does, there is always next year until a Connecticut happens,” said Haley.

Advocates just hope those words will turn into action.

Link to Original Video: WYFF4.com

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