SC DHHS plans to increase the number of mental health counselors in school

COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) — The South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said it has completed its assessment of the mental health services offered in South Carolina public schools.

Their report shows that there is a need for more mental health counselors in South Carolina schools.

Officials are proposing to increase salaries for counselors, allow school districts to hire counselors from the Department of Mental Health, hire their own staff, or partner with a third party to provide these services.

Principal Robbie Kerr said: “We believe it is more appropriate to introduce more flexibility into the schools.”

According to director Kerr, the state must address this problem as soon as possible. He said there is now one counselor for every 1,300 students in South Carolina. Their services are also in high demand.

“Our goal is to halve this ratio,” he said. It will take a few years to pressure this Kerr.

Director Kerr says their recommendations also address balanced billing for families.

dr. Kershaw County School District Superintendent Shane Robbins says he believes these changes will improve mental health services for students. “It gives us a little more flexibility and allows us to forge partnerships with private mental health practices and providers. That’s a good thing for us because it gives us the consistency and flexibility that this program offers,” he said.

The program’s review was requested earlier this year by Governor Henry McMaster. He said tackling the mental health of young people is one of the top concerns in the state right now.

“These children and young people need help. If they don’t get it, we’ll see them again. It could be with DJJ, DAODAS or Department of Corrections,” McMaster said.

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