DMH should not be restructured under SC Senate Bill 2


Editorials and other opinion content provide insights into issues important to our community and are independent of the work of our newsroom reporters.


Adding more beds alone will not solve a mental health crisis, experts say. A new report presents 10 recommendations to tackle the problem. Far too often people fall through the cracks of a fragmented system, the report says.


Do not restructure DMH

On behalf of the chairs of the boards of directors of the 16 mental health centers of the Department of Mental Health (DMH), I am writing to urge that this department be removed from Senate Bill 2 which would divide the functions of DHEC into separate agencies, making DMH a “division” of a new agency: the Behavioral and Public Health Directorate.

Proponents of S2 cite that DHEC is too large, but combining DHEC’s public health functions with DMH and the Department of Alcohol and Other Substance Abuse Services would create a much larger agency than DHEC is. already. Additionally, the new agency would regulate the hospitals and nursing homes that DMH currently operates.

We support any proposal that improves services for people with mental illness; however, a 2021 study of the state’s public health, environmental, and behavioral health fields, including more than 50 experts, did not recommend restructuring existing agencies to improve services.

South Carolina, like the entire country, is experiencing an unprecedented need for mental health services. In the midst of this crisis, a massive restructuring of services and the disruption it will cause will not provide better mental health care for the people of South Carolina and may in fact cause harm.

Addison Fender, Beaufort

The senator is a mess

Does South Carolina see what 49 other states see?

Face it people. Senator Lindsey Graham has been the subject of jokes for a long time. It is said that former President Trump invited him to play golf because his team loved to make fun of him.

Ask Graham what he thought of the recent Supreme Court confirmation hearings.

I’m sorry to burst your bubble, South Carolina, but you have a mess on your hands.

Bob Conway, Hilton Head

Are we ready?

With gas prices exceeding $4/gallon, electric cars (EVs) are widely heralded as the solution. But are we ready for this “solution”?

How is the electricity to power them generated? If you guessed nuclear or fossil fuels, you’d be right. Is the current US grid capable of handling this increased demand for electricity? The current answer is no. What is the average mileage range between charges? The Nissan Leaf, one of the most cost-effective and efficient electric vehicles, has a range of 150 to 226 miles.

Depending on the type of battery your car uses, charging can take between three and 10 hours. Another concern is battery safety. Many electric vehicles offer a fire extinguisher with the battery as standard equipment.

What about battery life? This may vary depending on hot/cold temperatures/high altitudes. Battery replacement estimates are around $10,000.

What about used batteries? Currently, there is no clear plan for recycling used electric vehicle batteries, so the environmental impact is unclear.

Did you know that the average cost of a new EV is around $60,000 compared to $45,000 for a new gasoline vehicle?

Before considering an EV, do your research and ask yourself if we are really ready.

Laurie Haddock, Bluffton

Argue fairly

What happened to truth in advertising?

An ad currently running on the Beaufort County Media Market incorrectly blames President Joe Biden and Senator Raphael Warnock (obviously aimed at viewers in neighboring Georgia) for rising gas prices.

Biden has approved 34% more oil drilling licenses on federal land in a year than the former president, but oil companies aren’t drilling. Oil executives recently made their own announcement that the problem is that investors are not investing in oil stocks given the sharp drop in oil prices since 2014.

Add to that the economy-wide issues of strong demand growth for all commodities and slow-improving supply chain issues, and you have the perfect storm.

If conservatives want to go after President Biden, they should at least find something more factual, and perhaps less sensational, than oil prices.

Jerry Whalen, Bluffton

Norman D. Briggs