Department of Human Services (DHS) Acting Secretary Meg Snead today joined Attorney General Josh Shapiro to raise awareness and understanding of mental health and wellness, mental illness, and substance use disorders and encourage people who are experiencing these to seek help. The COVID-19 pandemic and economic crises have created anxiety and grief that are affecting all of us in different ways, but resources are available across Pennsylvania, so no one has to go through this alone.
“The past year has made each of us acutely aware of our mental health, and many of us have been struggling with feelings of fear, depression, and anxiety. It is okay to feel this way, but please know that help is available so you do not have to endure this alone,” said Acting Secretary Snead. “These feelings may seem isolating but recognizing them in yourself or a loved one can help you begin to work through and process these challenges and trauma. Clinicians have expanded the use of telehealth throughout this past year making it easier to access services. If you need help, do not hesitate to reach out.”
“I traveled across Pennsylvania to talk to students about Safe2Say, and they told me over and over that they were most concerned about their peers’ mental health,” said Attorney General Josh Shapiro. “It was important to my office that we respond to these concerns and provide students with the help they need and are asking for. As our students return to the classroom, we must continue to find innovative ways to reach young people in need, including making child protective and mental health services available 24/7.”
Pennsylvanians struggling with anxiety and other challenging emotions due to COVID-19 and the accompanying economic insecurity can contact the Persevere PA Support & Referral Helpline toll-free, 24/7 at 1-855-284-2494. For TTY, dial 724-631-5600. The helpline is staffed by skilled and compassionate caseworkers who will be available to counsel struggling Pennsylvanians and refer them to resources in their community that can further help to meet individual needs. Since its launch in April 2020, the helpline has received more than 22,900 calls.
The Attorney General’s Safe2Say program is available to Pennsylvania children and teenagers to anonymously and safely seek assistance and report threats of violence, harassment, and bullying, is also still operating and can be reached 24/7 at 1-844-723-2729 or at www.safe2saypa.org.
Many other resources also remain available to Pennsylvanians in need of support, including:
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
- Línea Nacional de Prevención del Suicidio: 1-888-628-9454
- Crisis Text Line: Text “PA” to 741-741
- Veteran Crisis Line: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
- Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990
- Get Help Now Hotline (for substance use disorders): 1-800-662-4357
- Pennsylvania Sexual Assault Helpline: 1-888-772-7227 or https://pcar.org/help-in-pa
- National Domestic Violence Helpline: 1-800-799-7233 or www.PCADV.org
Available online resources include:
- Pennsylvania’s mental health resource guide.
- Mental Health America for general information and COVID-19-specific resources.
- Get Help Now for substance use disorder and alcohol treatment.
The pandemic has created economic uncertainties for many Pennsylvanians, making it difficult for some to access essential needs or feel secure about the future. Resources are available in your community to help address these feelings of stress and anxiety. The United Way of Pennsylvania can help connect you to resources that are available in your community to help you meet these needs. Text your zip code to 898-211 to be connected to programs and resources in your community or visit www.uwp.org. People in need of assistance can also visit www.compass.state.pa.us to learn more and apply for assistance programs that can help with health care, food, rental and utility bills, and other needs.
More information on mental health resources can be found here.