AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WJBF) — World Mental Health day Being recognized this week. Aiken-Barnwell Mental Health is dedicated to raising awareness and offering crucial support for mental health needs.

“It’s important that people understand how important your mental health is,” Executive Director Tamara Smith said.

Aiken-Barnwell Mental Health offers a wide range of services, including treatment for children, adolescents, and families. They also provide an interactive screening program.

“It’s anonymous. Then a mental health professional will reach out to that individual and help link them with services and that not necessarily would be mental health, but any services that they may be in need of,” she added.

The organization highly values group therapy and peer support specialists who can relate to patients through shared experiences. The facility’s design prioritizes comfort, creating warm spaces in the waiting room for children and parents, as well as in therapist offices.

“We also have our multidimensional family therapy program, which provides intensive family services to our population ages nine through 26. So they go out in the community and provide services in their homes in the schools,” Child Adolescent Family Services program manager Karlin Cummings added.

Their Mobile Crisis Unit is a pivotal part of diverting individuals away from hospitals and jails by delivering on-site emergency mental health services.

“What we do is have we do safety planning, a lot of de-escalation and then more than likely the client will stay at the homes instead of going to the hospitals,” Aiken Barnwell Mental Health Center, Hartzog Center Program Manager Varney Hodge shared.

For those with bipolar, schizoaffective, and schizophrenia disorders, the Assertive Community Treatment program is designed to provide frequent support.

“To help them learn to manage those illnesses effectively, and prevent hospitalization, rehospitalization and incarcerations,” Smith added.

Meanwhile, the center is actively engaging with the community through listening sessions to better understand local mental health concerns. If you need crisis counseling in South Carolina, dial 988.