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Mental health options available; ODPS: 'We need everybody's help'
Times & Democrat - 10/31/2022
Nov. 1—The Orangeburg Department of Public Safety has responded to 144 calls concerning mental health within the past 90 days, according to Lt. Jennifer Haig.
The calls ranged from attempted suicides to disturbances at stores. There was even a call about someone showering in a public fountain, she said.
Several of those calls include repeat visits, sometimes in the same week — and sometimes in the same day.
The 144 mental health calls cost the agency 209 manpower hours, she said.
Haig said that's 209 hours of not being able to patrol neighborhoods or respond to other calls.
"We need everybody's help with this," she said.
Haig spoke about the issue last week before a small crowd gathered at the Orangeburg City Gym in a community meeting hosted by the Community Action Partners.
ODPS Cpl. Jeffrey Rivas also spoke, noting the agency tries to have one officer who's been specially trained in handling mental health crises to work each shift.
Rivas said each of the agency's officers will be trained in how to recognize mental health concerns.
The department doesn't have an issue with responding to mental health calls, but "we have other avenues you can take before you get to us," he said.
Haig said, "When you think of medical issues, you don't really think, 'Help, call the police.'"
"You don't put handcuffs on someone and take them to chemotherapy or your kid breaks their leg and you call law enforcement," Haig said.
"And yet, that is what is going on around the city when a person with a mental illness is in need of medical treatment or other assistance," she said.
Orangeburg County Probate Judge Pandora Jones-Glover discussed the differences between emergency and non-emergency court-ordered commitment.
Court-ordered commitments have to be initiated by the Department of Mental Health.
There are a number of mental health treatment options in the T&D Region including:
—Family Health Centers provides counseling services for children ages 5 to 11, adolescents ages 12 to 17, adults 18 and older and geriatric patients 65 and older. For more information, visit www.myfhc.org or call 803-531-6968. Its Orangeburg office is located at 3310 Magnolia Street.
—The Dawn Center, formally known as the Tri-County Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, provides services for adults and children. It's also the only location in Orangeburg County that has inpatient treatment for adolescents. The main office can be reached at 803-536-4900. It is located at 910 Cook Road, Orangeburg. The website is at www.tccada.com
—The Orangeburg Area Mental Health Center is located at 2319 St. Matthews Road, Orangeburg. Its website is at scdmh.net/orangeburg-area-community-mental-health-center
—The Orangeburg VA Clinic, for U.S. veterans, is located at 151 Magnolia Village Parkway, Orangeburg. For mental health assistance, call 803-776-4000 extension 2242.
—The Regional Medical Center's Pathways to Behavioral Health (outpatient) is located at 1175 Cook Road, Suite 305, Orangeburg. They can be reached at 803-395-3715.
The next meeting by the Community Action Partners will be later this month at the Orangeburg City Gym, located at 410 Broughton Street.
The focus of the meeting will concern business/politics.
"It's about transformation in Orangeburg and people are ready for that," said the Rev. Jerome Anderson of Unity Fellowship Community Church.
The meetings are open to the public.
For further information about the monthly community meetings, contact Anderson at 1-803-682-4919.
Contact the writer: email@example.com or 803-533-5545. Follow on Twitter: @MRBrownTandD
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