The Beckman Center for Mental Health Services opened its doors to serve the residents of Abbeville, Edgefield, Greenwood, Laurens and McCormick counties on Jan. 7, 1963. The original clinic, named the Area Five Mental Health Center, was located in Greenwood and staffed with two full time employees and one part time psychiatrist. Saluda County became part of the center in 1964 and Newberry County in 1965, giving us the area that we continue to serve.
In 1966 the name of the center was officially changed to The Beckman Center for Mental Health Services in memory of W.P. Beckman, M.D. who had served for many years as the State Director of Mental Health for the South Carolina Mental Health Commission and was a pioneer during the original community mental health movement. The BCMHS is unique as the only community mental health center in S.C. to be named for an individual rather than a geographic distinction.
The second “unique” feature in Beckman Center’s development is the responsibility it has for the largest land area among state mental health centers. Its land mass covers over 3500 square miles and its seven counties outnumber others as well. Consistent governance has been provided by a 15 member Board of Directors reflecting each county’s representation.
Greenwood County has been the hub of Beckman services with a variety of satellite clinics and collocated services branching out over the years beginning with the opening of the Laurens Mental Health Clinic in 1975, followed by Newberry in 1979, Abbeville in 1984, Edgefield in 1986, Saluda in 1986, and McCormick in 1992. 1997 was a milestone year as Beckman received its first accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitative Facilities (CARF). Beckman has successfully completed CARF Survey every three years since then.
Another notable year was 2003. On January 6, The Beckman Mental Health Center opened its new 28,000 square foot home. Ironically this was just one day short of its 40th anniversary. The journey to 1547 Parkway, Greenwood had been long awaited as an opportunity to reunite the menu of services offered Greenwood residents and the Administration for center operations. In 2008 Melanie Gambrell became Beckman’s fifth Executive Director. At any given time there are approximately 3150 clients in service with approximately one-third of them children or adolescents.
The Beckman Center is a part of a much larger system, the South Carolina Department of Mental Health (SCDMH). SCDMH consists of 17 Community Mental Health Centers, 4 Psychiatric Hospitals, 4 Nursing Homes (including 3 for veterans), a Forensics Program, and a Sexually Violent Predator Treatment Program
The Mission of The Beckman Center is to create and maintain quality mental health programs and services that support the recovery of persons with mental illness. South Carolina Counties served include Abbeville, Edgefield, Greenwood, Laurens, McCormick, Newberry and Saluda. The Center will work to create a safe, accessible and culturally competent environment which leads to a process driven by individual strengths, needs, abilities and preferences.
Center Goals for 2019
The Beckman Executive Management Team develops the Center goals annually, with input from staff and other stakeholders. Each year, in January, a Leadership Retreat is held for the development of the goals for the Center. The focus of the 2019 Leadership Retreat was commitment to quality and beyond.
Action Items were developed in the following areas during the retreat:
Ø Retention, Recruitment, and Development of Exceptional Staff
Ø Improvement of the Skill Set of Staff to Promote Wellness and More Work/Life Balance
Ø Expansion of Services and Evidence-Based Practices to Meet the needs of the Beckman Community
Ø Provide Positive Outcomes with Forward Thinking
Ø Maintain a Path to Success
Ø Expansion of Community Outreach Initiatives
In addition the action items/goals were reviewed and there were six (6) priority areas identified. They are as follows:
1. Address deficiencies in productivity
2. Staff development
3. Growth and development of excellent supervisors
4. Explore the use of an RV for intensive community-based treatment
5. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
The Center goals were endorsed by the Beckman Board of Directors. The action items are reviewed monthly at the Executive Management Team Meeting and reports on progress are made.
In 2013 The Beckman Center for Mental Health Services celebrated its 50th anniversary of service to our region.
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