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South Carolina State Hospital
rom the establishment of the South Carolina State Hospital over 175 years ago, to the beginning of community mental health services in the 1920's, to the evolution of a complex mental health care delivery system, South Carolina has achieved an impressive record in its efforts to meet the needs of its mentally ill citizens.
As far back as 1694 the Lord Proprietors of the Carolinas decreed that the indigent mentally ill should be cared for locally at public expense. In 1751 the colonial government similarly recognized the mental health needs of slaves. In 1762 the Fellowship Society of Charleston established an infirmary for the mentally ill. But it was not until the 1800s that the mental health movement received legislative attention at the state level.
According to legend, when Colonel Samuel Farrow, a member of the House of Representatives from Spartanburg County, traveled to Columbia to attend sessions of the legislature, he noticed a woman who was mentally distressed and apparently without adequate care. Her poor condition made an impact on him and spurred him on to engage the support of Major William Crafts, a brilliant orator and a member of the Senate from Charleston County.
The two men worked zealously to sensitize their fellow lawmakers to the needs of the mentally ill, and on December 20, 1821, the South Carolina State Legislature passed a statute-at-large approving $30,000 to build the S.C. Lunatic Asylum and school for the deaf and dumb. This legislation made South Carolina the second state in the nation (after Virginia) to provide funds for the care and treatment of people with mental illnesses. Click here for more...