New resources at Conway’s Waccamaw Center for Mental Health work to eliminate stigma


CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – The FCC proposed a new three-digit number for the national suicide prevention hotline to Congress last week, and if it’s approved, crisis counselors in Conway say they’d implement it.

The center is getting a head-start on the proposed hotline by recently creating brand new resources to help in eliminating the stigma surrounding mental health.

“One week we may have 10, and the next week, we may have two,” said Beth Pace, a crisis counselor for the Waccamaw Center for Mental Health in Conway, on the number of calls the center receives.

Every week the Waccamaw Center for Mental Health takes a different number of calls, and crisis counselor Beth Pace says the FCC’s new proposal for a three-digit national suicide prevention hotline would be something the center could get behind.

“There’s not a lot of publicity around it, so I think having a unified number nationwide, everybody knows how to get in touch with somebody just like 911, then I think it’s going to help people access the services that we have,” she said.

988 would be the new number, presented to Congress last week.

The mental health center in Conway is already ahead of the game, just a little over a year ago they implemented the South Carolina Department of Mental Health’s community crisis response and intervention hotline, and the LGBTQ’s suicide prevention hotline.

“They can connect the call to us, and so they’re speaking to a crisis counselor. They give us the information that we need, and then they send the caller straight to us, and then we can work with them and get to their location,” said Pace.

The CCRI hotline, at (833)-364-2274, and the LGBTQ suicide prevention hotline, at 1 (800) 273-TALK, are both similar to the national suicide prevention one, and it’s 24/7.

Pace says they’ve had callers from Georgia on the CCRI access line, but no matter where you’re at, they can find someone to come to you, help you, and figure out what’s going on right there.

“We learn in school, body language is a big part, so being able to see them, seeing them in their setting, seeing them in their comfort zone, you can tell so much more. When somebody comes into the clinic, they’re naturally a little guarded,” she said.

Pace says she hopes that one day taking mental health medications can be seen just as normal as taking a cholesterol or high blood pressure pill.

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