SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – A first of its kind mental health screener in South Carolina. It’s an online tool that is being used by the state’s mental health department to get connected with people like never before, completely confidentially and free.
Two words that go a long way.
“Hope and connection,” Program Director for the South Carolina Department of Mental Health (SCDMH) Office of Suicide Prevention, Jennifer Butler.
Jennifer Butler with South Carolina’s Department of Mental Health told 7 News, those two words can go as far as saving lives.
“Probably about 75% to 80% of them had suicidal thoughts,” Butler said.
It’s all part of an online questionnaire or mental health screener.
“It asks questions about depression, it will ask questions about anxiety, about trauma, about substance use, eating disorder, suicidal thoughts,” said Butler.
From there, professionals like Butler start a dialogue through the site, where you stay completely anonymous. They offer guidance, support and resources to get you connected.
“There are more resources in South Carolina since 2020 than there have ever been for suicide and for mental health care,” Butler told 7 News.
It’s also aiming to break down stigmas that can stop people from seeking help.
“If you or I had a heart issue, we would seek a doctor, there wouldn’t be any stigma in that but when it comes to mental illness, there is still stigma in our culture,” said CEO of The Carolina Center for Behavioral Health, Jerry Chapman.
Chapman told us they’ve seen an increase in patients in the last couple of months. Especially, utilizing more non-traditional tools.
“We also expanded those telehealth services because we have seen more people reaching out in need than we ever have before,” Chapman said.
That’s why Butler is hanging onto those two words that leave behind a powerful imprint.
“We have to have hope and that’s what gets us through the dark days and we have to have that connection to help us find hope,” said Butler.
Butler told us, 80% to 90% of the people who have responded to this screener so far, were not currently seeking any kind of care of treatment.
It’s also worth noting again, this is a completely free tool that can be found here: https://hope.connectsyou.org/welcome.cfm.
If you are in a crisis situation, there is a help out there. You can find a handful of resources in South Carolina and beyond, below:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Veterans Crisis Line
800-273-TALK (8255) Press 1 or Text 838255
Crisis Text Line
Text “HOPE4SC” to 741741
SAMHSA’s Disaster Helpline
The Trevor Project Lifeline
1-866-488-7386 or Text “START” to 678678
National Sexual Assault Hotline
National Domestic Violence Hotline