Creating Community Solutions in the Lowcountry (SC)

Topics: 

Format: 

Single, day-long event

Number of Participants: 

40

With what other organizations in your community did you partner when convening this conversation, if any?: 

Citizens Center for Public Life

What were the most important things you learned during the process of organizing the dialogue?: 

 Community organizations in the Lowcoutry are collaborative and used to working together to accomplish an identified task.

What did you identify as the key issues affecting mental health in your community and especially the mental health of your community‚Äôs young people?: 

More partnership between substance abuse agencies and the mental health agencies is needed. The need for prison and sentencing reform is a major issue in South Carolina and needs attention.  Mental health issues are an integral part of the problems.

What did you identify as the current strategies being used to address mental health challenges in your community? What are the challenges facing those strategies? : 

Some schools have a good mental health relationship with social workers and councilors; others do not.  There are good mentl health support systems in the community but not everyone knows how to access them. There is a lot of need for early diagnosis.   There is still a taboo in talking about the issue.

Also, thre is still a hesitation to replicate a deliberative style of discussion to set a framework for ccommunity action.

What actions did you identify that your community can pursue to improve mental health, especially among young people?: 

A directory needs to be developed and put on line.

More coordination for to support targetted audiences like veterans, undiagnosed youth, homeless, and low income.

Schools could help other schools establish a mental health councilor in thier school if there was not one.

Is there anything else you'd like to share about your conversation?: 

Community was very engaged.

Much after action work has been accomplished, i.e. setting up a permanent community group looking at ongoing support efforts for mental health, development of a directory - soon to go online, mental health first aid training, work at developing a veterans court and more.  Forum got the attention of many state agencies and also some corportate social responsibility representatives.  Ongoing communicaiton with the corporate social responsibility contact has provided opportunities for another agency to submit a proposa to the corporate headquarters about a rx Drud buy-back pilot program,l and discussions about eliminating barriers to support prisonersare ongoing.

Topics discussed in this and another CCS forum in Florence, SC were incorporated in a January 2015 forum on the "Value of Human Life" in Myrtle Beach.  A veterans court and a social service accountability support  data system is being launched to cover the entire lowcountry.  People involved in the CCS for Mental Health in the Lowcountry forum have been integral leaders along with other veteran support leaders in Charleston in developing a Veterans Court program and ongoing veteran's support, and the Citizens Center for Public Life has provided consultation support to this group.