Thursday letters: What about the mentally ill?

July 11, 2013 

The Babcock Building on the S.C. Department of Mental Health campus along Bull Street is on the National Register of Historic Places.

ERIK CAMPOS — The State

— As a nursing student in the 1980s, I had occasion to spend time and study at the Williams Building, located on the Mental Health property on Bull Street. I remember how proud I was of the vision Columbia had for treatment of the mentally ill among us. However, I was also appalled at the neglect of so many of the beautiful buildings.

Now 30 years later, so many of the kind of patients once served there are at Oliver Gospel Mission, under bridges and in city parks, where they are not wanted. And the campus on Bull Street has fallen into further ruin.

All I read about is the haggling over the millions of dollars this property will cost to develop, who pays for it and the millions it eventually will bring to this city, maybe. The historians and the money people disagree on how to best “monetize” it.

What a sad epitaph for this once-visionary institution of mental health, and what a testament to greed, because nowhere in these discussions do I see any provisions for those who were served by this once-proud institution.

Alice G. Buckner

Columbia

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