HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – State officials have launched a new statewide mental health initiative aimed at increasing access to mental health care and removing the stigma associated with mental health issues.
Gov. Tom Wolf, mental health advocates and social workers Thursday announced the launch of the Reach Out PA: Your Mental Health Matters campaign.
According to the University of Southern California, about one million adults in Pennsylvania struggled with serious psychological distress at least once in 2015, but many did not receive mental health care because they could not afford it.
The campaign calls on the Pennsylvania Insurance Department to ensure health insurance coverage provides access to affordable mental health care.
The Department of Education will work to increase the number of social workers trained to work in Pennsylvania schools. They will also work with the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency to evaluate how to make sure every school district can provide a full-time counselor, social worker, and nurse.
The campaign also aims to remove the stigma associated with mental health issues.
The governor says they will use similar tactics they used to try to remove the stigma surrounding opioid addiction, including roundtable discussions across the state, to hear from those battling to end that stigma.
“I want every Pennsylvanian to feel comfortable reaching out to someone if they’re struggling. I want every Pennsylvanian to feel comfortable reaching out if they know someone else is struggling. I want to end the silence because I want to end the stigma,” Wolf said.
The first roundtable is scheduled for Friday at Muhlenberg College in Allentown.