Grants to Expand Telepsychiatry

The South Carolina Department of Mental Health (SCDMH)  recently received grant awards for $600,000 and $1.2 million over three years respectively, from The Duke Endowment (TDE) to expand their telepsychiatry services and school mental health programs.

SCDMH serves about 100,00 citizens with mental illnesses through a network of 17 community mental health centers and numerous clinics, operates multiple inpatient hospitals, including one for substance use treatment, one community nursing care center, and three veterans’ nursing homes.

“SCDMH is not only the largest provider of telepsychiatry services in the state, but it is also the largest provider of other telehealth services in South Carolina,” said Stewart Cooner, SCDMH Director of Special Programs & Telepsychiatry.

The $600,000 award from TDE will help to fund the addition of Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN) to SCDMH’s Community Telepsychiatry Program. Since there is both a national and state shortage of psychiatrists, SCDMH with 60 community mental health clinics throughout South Carolina, needs to use both APRNs and telehealth so that not as many psychiatrists are required to travel to multiple outpatient locations.

Funding from TDE for $1.2 million, will help provide more school mental health services. SCDMH is implementing a county wide school mental telehealth initiative for children in Darlington County.

One of SCDMH’s Community Mental Health Centers in Darlington Country is working in partnership with the Medical University of South Carolina, South Carolina Telehealth Alliance, Darlington One School District, plus several local private providers to make multiple healthcare services such as telehealth services available in participating schools.

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