South Carolina's system for providing care to mentally ill citizens is in crisis. The system is severely under-funded and in many communities it is fragmented and poorly coordinated. Despite the tough economic times, the South Carolina Hospital Association (SCHA) believes it is imperative that we begin reinvesting in our state's behavioral health care system. State agencies, private providers, and patient advocacy groups must work collaboratively to strengthen the continuum of care and create statewide protocols to improve treatment for our state's most vulnerable citizens.
Today, South Carolina hospital emergency rooms have become the safety net for the mentally ill. Far too many South Carolinians suffering from mental illness and/or substance abuse problems are either living on the streets or incarcerated. Too often, they are dropped off at hospital emergency rooms not equipped to provide the services they need. They simply have no place else to turn.