Forum discussed Aiken County's mental health issues - WFXG FOX 54 - News Now

Forum discussed Aiken County's mental health issues

The Safe Communities Initiative in Aiken County held a special forum to address the mental health concerns in the area.

Thursday night a panel consisting of health care providers and consumers discussed problems they've seen in the community. The lack of treatment facilities was at the top of the list.  

Cheryl Cummings, a counselor at the Stairway Counseling Services, deals with mental health issues on a daily basis, and she says that Aiken County has a problem.

"What I found is that all of the core mental health facilities are all in the inner city in Aiken, and so there's not a lot of people in those outlying areas that are able to get to the services here," Cummings stated.

Aiken County isn't alone. The state of South Carolina's mental health system received a letter D grade. The grade was a B in 2006. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, South Carolinas significant downgrade was caused by the forty million dollar budget cut to the department of mental health. Cummings says that because of the budget cut people in the area either don't have access to treatment or their health insurances don't cover mental illness.

"There's a shortage of psychiatrists here in the area, as well as therapists and counselors."

Nationally, mass shootings in Connecticut, Colorado, and DC were all linked to mental issues that were not diagnosed soon enough or properly treated.

"The only reason why they're violent is because they're not treated," Cummings said.

She doesn't want Aiken County to be a victim of untreated mental health problems.

"I think that overall people just need more access to mental health services here and know where to go to get those services and I also think as a community as a whole we need to start talking about mental health, mental illness, and how to keep yourself healthy."

Under Obamacare, new insurance plans are required to include mental health coverage. Cummings says she hopes that this will help address Aiken County's needs for more clinics to diagnose and treat mental illnesses.

  • NEWSMore>>

  • Undersea quake sends Alaskans fleeing from feared tsunami

    Undersea quake sends Alaskans fleeing from feared tsunami

    Tuesday, January 23 2018 5:28 AM EST2018-01-23 10:28:12 GMT
    Wednesday, January 24 2018 1:00 AM EST2018-01-24 06:00:23 GMT

    A magnitude 8.2 earthquake off Alaska's Kodiak Island prompted a tsunami warning for a large swath of coastal Alaska and Canada's British Columbia while the remainder of the U.S. West Coast was under a watch.

    More >>

    A magnitude 8.2 earthquake off Alaska's Kodiak Island prompted a tsunami warning for a large swath of coastal Alaska and Canada's British Columbia while the remainder of the U.S. West Coast was under a watch.

    More >>
  • In Oscar nominations, fresh voices lead the way

    In Oscar nominations, fresh voices lead the way

    Tuesday, January 23 2018 12:18 AM EST2018-01-23 05:18:02 GMT
    Wednesday, January 24 2018 12:49 AM EST2018-01-24 05:49:49 GMT

    Guillermo del Toro's lavish monster romance "The Shape of Water" will vie for the most Oscar nominations Tuesday, but just as much attention may be focused on categories where women could history.

    More >>

    Guillermo del Toro's lavish monster romance "The Shape of Water" will vie for the most Oscar nominations Tuesday, but just as much attention may be focused on categories where women could history.

    More >>
  • Classmate: Girl tortured with siblings was bullied, frail

    Classmate: Girl tortured with siblings was bullied, frail

    Tuesday, January 23 2018 8:49 PM EST2018-01-24 01:49:21 GMT
    Wednesday, January 24 2018 12:45 AM EST2018-01-24 05:45:28 GMT

    A classmate says the oldest of the 13 California siblings who authorities said were imprisoned by their parents was frail, smelly and picked on as a grade school student in Texas.

    More >>

    A classmate says the oldest of the 13 California siblings who authorities said were imprisoned by their parents was frail, smelly and picked on as a grade school student in Texas.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly