DMH receives grant funding for rural Mobile Response Program

The South Carolina Department of Mental Health (SCDMH) has been awarded a federal grant for $6,403,686 to provide support to South Carolinians in rural areas who are experiencing mental health and substance use crises or have unmet treatment needs. The primary focus of the initiative will be a Mobile Response Program that will serve nine South Carolina counties beginning in early 2021. The Highway to Hope Mobile Response Program (H2H) will serve both adults and children in some of the most rural areas of South Carolina. H2H will utilize nine RVs operated by SCDMH staff from three SCDMH mental health centers that serve these areas: Pee Dee Mental Health Center (Florence, Darlington and Marion counties), Tri-county Mental Health Center (Chesterfield, Dillon and Marlboro counties) and Waccamaw Center for Mental Health (Horry, Georgetown and Williamsburg counties). The program will offer both mental health treatment and some basic primary care services directly to those in need who may not have transportation to services otherwise. It is based on a long-running and highly successful mental health mobile model for rural patients operated by the Agency’s Charleston Dorchester Mental Health Center. H2H will offer assessment, crisis services, psychiatric services, individual therapy, basic primary care, nursing care and suicide prevention strategies. Based on the patient’s assessment, the professional care staff will also make referrals to other community resources for employment assistance, deaf services, and services for non-English speakers. The RVs will be equipped with telehealth equipment, and the services available will be delivered both in-person and virtually. “Highway to Hope will be a game-changer for health care in the identified rural areas of South Carolina,” said SCDMH Deputy Director of Community Mental Health Services Deborah Blalock. “Instead of expecting citizens to travel to facilities to receive care, SCDMH will do the traveling to provide mental health care and basic primary care to people in need.” Six of the new RVs will be staffed with a registered nurse, an adult services mental health professional, and a child services mental health professional. Each RV will be designated for the area’s most rural communities. The remaining three RVs will be staffed with a registered nurse, a school mental health clinician and an adult services clinician. They will be deployed to rural areas where schools do not currently offer on-site mental health services.

Author: Rachel Howell

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