State News

THE RED TAPE OF GETTING HELP FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES

Have you ever tried to get someone help who you knew suffered from mental health issues or addictions?

Well it seems in the State of South Carolina that help is held up by red tape. 

The process is going to your local mental health department and filling out paperwork for what is called a Judicial Review.

This paperwork is sent to the county probate courts who then begin a slow process of scheduling psychological and psychiatric evaluations.  Then having it brought in front of the probate judge.

But if you feel someone is in need of immediate evaluations or help, even more red tape is placed in front of you.  And the sad part is even if you state you feel these people may be a risk to themselves the red tape sticks. 

You are told to contact the emergency crisis team phone number.  There you are switched to a counselor who informs you prior to them being able to evaluate someone you must fill out more paperwork. 

And if the person has changed locations like a different county then you are told you have refill the original paperwork out in that county.

So in the never ending process of filling out paperwork the individual whom you are attempting to get help for are left without any help.

Law Enforcement Officer who have no mental health training are perhaps dispatched to check on the individual and simply leave after a small conversation, stating the person is fine.  When in fact the person is not fine.

Many mental health issues are not detected by average conversations. 

Domestic violence victims are many times able to speak coherently while hiding their mental issues. And in many cases those seeking help for these individuals are made out to be simply harrassing.

We have to remember that many individuals who suffer from mental health issues do not want it know and very seldom seek aid.

Those who seek aid from law enforcement are directed to mental health facilities and those who seek help from mental health facilities are directed to law enforcement.

It would seem that people who need help for mental health issues are considered throw aways between the lines of red tape.

With statistics rising in South Carolina concerning mental health issues, it would appear that the state needs to reevaluate its current practice of providing and evaluating in emergency situations for those who require help.

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