Our mission is improving the lives of people with mental illness in South Carolina,
promoting mental health, preventing mental disorders and achieving victory over
mental illness through advocacy, education, research and service.
Mental Health America of South Carolina is an affiliate of Mental Health America, a national organization founded by former psychiatric patient and Yale graduate Clifford W. Beers to expose and correct the injustices he experienced and observed during hospitalizations for a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. Mental Health America of South Carolina (MHASC) has served the state of South Carolina since 1954 as a private, not for profit, 501(c) 3 organization. In 2004, MHASC celebrated its golden anniversary as an affiliate of the oldest mental health advocacy organization in the nation.
MHASC has 17 affiliates, 7 of which are staffed, but much of the work is accomplished by dedicated volunteers who lend their time and talents to the daily tasks of running the organizations. We are a grassroots organization with the state office, MHASC, providing a statewide presence with governmental agencies, developing policies that guide activities across the state, following legislation that will improve and expand mental health care in South Carolina, establishing local affiliates in counties not currently represented in our family and providing leadership, oversight, guidance, and support to our local affiliates already in existence.
What we do
What We Believe
Mental Health America of South Carolina works diligently to ADVOCATE for those suffering from mental illness, those that cannot fight the battle alone. Through our own initiatives and through collaboration with others we help clients navigate the mental health system and keep mental health a priority for our elected officials working to affect public policy to improve the delivery and quality of treatment.
MHASC works to EDUCATE all South Carolinians, adults and children, both public officials and private citizens alike to promote good mental health, raise awareness and reduce the stigma associated with mental illness. MHASC conducts trainings and campaigns, sponsors conferences, participates in national initiatives and works closely with schools, churches, corporations and even small businesses to insure that our mission is met.
MHASC is privileged to SERVE those suffering from mental illness by providing evidence based programs that can improve their quality of life and speed their recovery. Affordable housing and essential psychosocial and vocational rehabilitation programs are just some of the services MHASC provides.
Our mission is improving the lives of people with mental illness in South Carolina, promoting mental health, preventing mental disorders and achieving victory over mental illness through advocacy, education, research and service.
MHASC and its affiliates provide education and awareness activities, advocacy, support groups, and housing. In addition, psycho-social treatment services, mental health screenings, prevention activities and other support services help mental health consumers in their recovery. Our work in South Carolina is accomplished largely through partnerships and collaborations with many organizations on a state and local level.
We are instrumental in several key collaborative efforts, including the SC State Housing Task Force, SC Department of Mental Health Planning Council, The Substance/Alcohol Committee, the SC Behavioral Health Coalition, SC Housing and Homeless Coalition and the Mental Health for Seniors Task Force in the Lt. Governor’s office.
MHASC is an affiliate of Mental Health America, a national organization founded by former psychiatric patient and Yale graduate Clifford W. Beers to expose and correct the injustices he experienced and observed during hospitalizations for a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. Clifford Beers called for a national change in the care of the mentally ill which were often in prisons or very bad institutions. In 1901 Mental Health Association of the USA was founded. In later years the Bell of Hope would come to represent MHA and still stands in the National office today.
Mental Health America of South Carolina (MHASC) has served the state of South Carolina since 1954 as a private, not for profit, 501(c) 3 organization. In 2014, MHASC will celebrate 60 years as an affiliate of the oldest mental health advocacy organization in the nation. MHASC was started by the Spartanburg Chapter of Mental Health Association in 1954 after they had been established as the Mental Hygiene Society in 1952. They changed their name and became an affiliate of the National Chapter of Mental Health Association. MHASC continues to work as an affiliate system model and now has 23 affiliates across the state.
The first two programs of MHASC were Operation Santa and Spring Showers. During “Operation Santa”, MHASC made sure that all patients in the state hospital received at least one gift at the annual Christmas party hosted by MHASC. Today, MHASC continues this wonderful tradition, even as people have moved away from state facilities and now reside in local communities across the state. Held in the month of May on the State Hospital grounds on Bull Street in Columbia, Spring Showers started in 1959 and was an annual spring fling for those at the State Hospital. This program continued until 1990.
Legislative Education and Advocacy have always played a huge role in MHASC’s history. The first march to the State House from the Bull Street Hospital grounds was organized in 1970. In a joint effort with advocates from across the state, MHASC now participates in an annual Legislative Education Day. Budget Hearing Chambers are packed on this day with individuals and groups eager to interact with their representatives.
After 5,000 people were discharged from the state hospital on Bull Street in 1989, MHASC and affiliates around the state became involved in housing. In the years that followed MHASC has become the single largest sponsor for housing in the state of South Carolina. As long as there is a need, MHASC will continue to develop housing for persons with Mental Illness.
In 1994, MHASC recognized the need for clients to have a place to go to learn new skills and develop friendships.“Bridges Clubhouse” was founded to fill this need in the Columbia area. Bridges offers an array of psychological, social and vocational programs, housing assistance, and case management services.
MHASC has a long and rich history of volunteers, programs, and advocacy for persons with mental illness. For over 60 years this agency has fought the fight of stigma and overcome the many obstacles to create a fair South Carolina for persons in the state with mental illness.