Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare Furthers Commitment to Mental Health Awareness

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

May 09, 2014, 14:10 ET from Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare

HARRISBURG, Pa., May 9, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) is hosting several events across the commonwealth to remind Pennsylvanians of the importance of awareness surrounding mental health. This year's theme is "Mind Your Health." 

"Pennsylvania is setting national standards for our innovative efforts to target various mental health disorders," DPW Secretary Beverly Mackereth stated. "Addressing the complex mental health needs of children, youth and families today is fundamental to the future of our youth."  

It is estimated that approximately 20 percent of American adults and children will experience a diagnosable mental health disorder. Mental disorders can be particularly difficult for the children themselves and their caregivers and despite effective treatments, there are long delays, sometimes decades, between the first onset of symptoms and when people seek and receive treatment.

DPW is committed to ensuring comprehensive and coordinated mental health services across the commonwealth. The department's Mental Health Matters initiatives promote Mental Health First Aid as a best practice to educate communities on how to recognize early warning signs and symptoms of mental health conditions.

"The stigma surrounding mental illness often times prevents individuals from seeking health, but through understanding of what to look for, we increase the opportunity for Pennsylvanians to obtain services early, thereby increasing the chance for early detection and recovery," said Mackereth. "This administration has taken great strides to ensure individuals with mental health and substance misuse issues know we are here to support them and that these disorders are real, common and treatable."

In addition to commonwealth-wide awareness events, Governor Tom Corbett declared May 8 Children's Mental Health Awareness Day.  

Individuals experiencing a mental health crisis can call their local county Crisis Hotline or the Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990, or text "Talk With Us" to 66746. The TTY for Deaf/Hearing Impaired is 1-800-846-8517.

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Media contactKait Gillis, 717-425-7606

Editor's Note:



May 8, 2014

WHEREAS, Addressing the complex mental health needs of children, youth and families today is fundamental to the future of Pennsylvania; and        

WHEREAS, the need for comprehensive, coordinated mental health services for children, youth and families places a critical responsibility upon communities across the Commonwealth; and

WHEREAS, it is important to educate the nation about children's mental health and promote comprehensive, grass-root efforts to eradicate scrutiny, discrimination and repercussions that deter our children, youth and families in need of care from seeking consistent help; and

WHEREAS, public stigma against children and adolescents with mental health needs often prevents them from getting the help they require and participating fully in their communities; and

WHEREAS, Pennsylvania is effectively caring for the mental health needs of children, youth and families in our community, recognizing the impact of trauma on the well-being of children and youth, taking specific steps to provide treatment and services that emphasize the impact of trauma and providing accurate information about mental illness that reduces stigma; and

WHEREAS, research has demonstrated that traumatic experiences during childhood can have a lifelong negative impact on children, and has also demonstrated that trauma-informed care mitigates the effects of trauma on children and youth; and

WHEREAS, it is appropriate that a day should be set apart each year for the direction of our thoughts toward our children's mental health and well-being.

THEREFORE, In recognition of the vital importance of comprehensive treatment and support services, I, Tom Corbett, Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, do hereby proclaim May 8, 2014 as CHILDREN'S MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS DAY in Pennsylvania.  I urge all citizens to become aware of the importance of effective and coordinated services for children and youth, to learn about the impact of trauma on children's health and well-being and to unite in an effort to increase awareness about the importance of comprehensive programs for children and youth with mental health needs and their families.

GIVEN under my hand and the Seal of the Governor, at the City of Harrisburg, on this third day of May in the Year of our Lord two thousand and fourteen, and of the Commonwealth the two hundred and thirty-eighth.


SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare