Senate Gets Bill Expanding Mental Health Courts

Senate Judiciary Panel Passes Mental Health Courts Bill!

Yesterday was a major step for mental health reform in South Carolina! The SC Senate Judiciary Committee voted 23-0 for the Bill S.426, the Mental Health Court Program Act, to move forward to the SC House. This is a crucial piece of legislation that will help reduce the number of mentally ill individuals incarcerated in state prisons, while diverting them to appropriate mental health services. This bill passing the SC Senate yesterday was thanks to not only the efforts of Paton Blough and other mental health advocates and local politicians, but also everyone who contacted their senators to encourage them to support the Mental Health Court Program Act. Thank you for your support now and in the future as this bill moves through the legislative process!

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Haley Needs to Address Treatment of Inmates

Posted in the Letter to the Editor section of the Greenville News on February 09, 2014

I am somewhat appalled at the lack of response from Gov. Nikki Haley after Judge Michael Baxley highlighted the way our Department of Corrections has been abusing the severely mentally ill in our prisons. Gov. Haley had the opportunity during her State of the State Address to mention these issues along with a plan to remedy this situation but instead decided to remain silent.

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NAMI Spotlight of Paton Blough

January 20, 2014

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has spotlighted Paton Blough on their website, where he has detailed his life’s story. Paton talks of his struggles with Type 1 Bipolar Disorder and how he has worked to overcome it along with the help that NAMI has given him.

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Paton on the Russ Cassell Show: Support H.R. 3717

Paton Blough is pushing for support and co-sponsors for federal bill, H.R. 3717 “Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2013”, on the Russ Cassell show. If you live in the Upstate of South Carolina, please call Trey Gowdy at (202) 225.6030 and let him know you support this bill. If you live elsewhere in the US, simply go to House.gov to find out who your US Representative is and give that person a call or send them an email. Remember this bill will save lives!

Police Train to Better Handle Mentally Ill

Local advocate shares his story

By Amanda Bradford, Staff Writer

Published in the Greer Citizen on November 6th, 2013

Two weeks ago, the Greer Police Department attended Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) where they heard Paton Blough’s story about his struggle with bipolar disorder that led to him being arrested six times.

It’s because of his experience with arrests resulting from his bipolar episodes that Blough believes it’s important for officers to be trained how to properly deal individuals with mental illness, which is the purpose of CIT. According to Blough, South Carolina only requires four hours of training specifically addressing mental illness, but through a free 40-hour CIT course departments can become better equipped to handle these situations, which Blough believes saves lives.

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Upstate man’s bipolar battle leads to new website, book

From WYFF4, on Oct. 17th, 2013

Blough with his wife and their son after he was awarded NAMI’s Best Recovery Member of 2011

GREENVILLE, S.C. —A Greenville man who dealt with mental illness for years, and hit lows that included hospitalizations and incarcerations, is now helping the police and is seeking to be an advocate for others with mental health issues.

Many in the Upstate know Paton Blough, who attended Bob Jones University, from Bullmoose Tree Company, the successful tree service he built starting in the late 1990s.

This week, Blough announced that he has left his work as an arborist to work as a mental health advocate. He launched a website, rehinge.com, that he says he hopes will help others with mental health issues find inspiration, education, hope and help without fear of stigma.

Blough says he did not discover that he has type I bipolar disorder until he was 26. He says he experienced severe levels of psychosis that led to suicidal lows, reckless mania and extreme paranoia resulting in altercations with police, arrests and imprisonment. His marriage also ended and his business folded.

Bough says that in 2009, he met and married his current wife, Marie, and with her help got involved with groups such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness and began his recovery.

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