FMU and Hope Health plan new mental health clinic in downtown

FLORENCE, SC (WBTW) – The Old Post Office building in the heart of Downtown Florence was bought for $3.7 million last year. Now the Francis Marion University (FMU) board is considering a partnership with Hope Health to create a behavioral or mental health clinic inside of the building.

Hope Health CEO Carl Humphries said statewide mental health clinics are limited especially in the Pee Dee Region.

“We see a wide array of issues every day we have patients that come in and they tell us about various problems that they are experiencing either with their children or themselves,” said Humphries.

Humphries explained patients often have to travel to Columbia or out of state for treatment.

“We know there is a great need,” said Humphries. “What we do in mental health today is very simple and basic. We have one physiatrist. We hope to add a second in the fall. Then grow from there. We have a few counselors but we need many more.”

The latest numbers from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration show in 2015:

  • 155,000 people in SC had a serious mental illness and more than half of those did not receive treatment
  • 131,000 adults had serious thoughts of suicide

“These are just people who admitted to having this ideology. So, we don’t know how many others are out there that maybe dealing with issues and problems,” said Humphries.

The clinic will be in the Old Post Office across the street from the University’s new health sciences building.

Tucker Mitchell, FMU Vice President of Communications said the clinic will give students hands on experience and help people in the community that have nowhere else to go.

“If it’s something that can help the community then that’s a win for a lot of people, “said Mitchell.

Hope Health and FMU hope to discuss the partnership more this fall.

FMU will apply for a State bond referendum for higher education renovation projects to help fund construction if it becomes available next year.