Members of the Coalition honor the following guiding principles when discussing issues, our work and advocating for policy and systems improvement.
- Promote the understanding that both mental illness and substance use disorders are diseases of the brain.
Like asthma and diabetes, a substance use disorder is a chronic, relapsing disease that requires long-term care and management. The key difference is that addiction is an illness of the brain.
- Promote early detection, intervention, and prevention of these diseases.
Research has shown that effectively addressing behavioral health issues like addiction involves four basic elements: promoting health and well-being, preventing substance abuse, providing treatment and fostering recovery.
- Focus on the needs of communities and promote the formation and strengthening of partnerships at the local level.
Significant improvement in mental health and substance use disorder service is largely dependent on partnerships being formed or strengthened at the local community level. If we are to be successful in implementing long-term change in the three priority areas, representatives from local communities must be involved so that services and supports can be modeled to fit specific needs.
To establish a comprehensive system at the state and community level that ensures access to, coverage for, effective coordination and awareness of mental health and substance use disorders services and resources for individuals and families living in South Carolina.